Option - 5/29/92, p.113
"..naive, brilliant, disturbing, and seductive...This album, like the rest of his catalog, will likely outlive us all.."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.1224 stars out of 5
- "[T]his is possibly his best album, with some great, if always rather unsettling tunes."
Personnel: Daniel Johnston (vocals, acoustic guitar); Dale Dudgeon, Tom Gruda, Donny Spencer, Brent Conkle (guitar); Mike West (bass guitar); Fred McMahan (drums).
ARTISTIC VICE was the first album on which Daniel Johnston fronted a band. On earlier works, the spare songs received musical accompanied from either a single keyboard or guitar. Johnson's first recordings were made a available in a series of primitively made self-released cassette tapes. These were later compiled onto several albums, including the highly recommended YIP/JUMP MUSIC. Notoriety paved the way for Johnston's first album (titled 1990), which was recorded in a true studio.
For this set, which was recorded in a house in West Virginia, Johnston assembled a six-piece band (four of whom are guitarists). It's a testament to Johnston's own innate musicality that the songs lend themselves so perfectly to the casual accompaniment heard here. They can shift easily from quiet country balladry to punkish rave ups. As always, his songs are direct, honest, hook-laden, and imminently coverable. One listen to "Tell Me Now" will yield the names of 10 artists who should record it.