2011's Nine and a Half Psychedelic Meditations on British Wrestling of the 1970s and Early '80s made good, quite literally, on the promise of its title; 2013's Rock and Roll Animals offered up an alternate universe Wind in the Willows populated by animals with names like Jimmy Pursey, Gene Vincent, and Nick Lowe, and 2014's New York in the '70s completes the psychedelic trilogy with a sordid tale/celebration of sex, drugs, and rock & roll in the Big Apple with a playlist that reads like the back jacket of a Wesley Willis album. Billed as a "mythic re-imagining of the New York rock and roll scene 1972-1979," the ex-Auteurs and Black Box Recorder mastermind approaches his characters ("Alan Vega Says," "Dolls Forever," "Jim Carroll," and "Lou Reed, Lou Reed," the latter of which adopts its hero's fondness for loose and simple white-boy blues grooves) with the usual mix of scorn and affection, channeling their halcyon days in a fever dream of classic N.Y.C. rock & roll pastiche. As always, Haines peppers his observations with flakes of lyrical gold (this is a man with the audacity to rhyme CBGB's with heebie jeebies), and while he tends to offer up a lot recycled versions of melodies he's laid claim to in the past, all of which benefit his relatively limited vocal range, he does so with the sneering charisma of both a world-class charlatan, and a genuine fan of the subject matter, or as he so succinctly puts it in the magnificent "Cerne Abbus Man," "Mythic motherfu#king rock and roll."
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AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger