Audio Mixers: Tom Efinger; Eric Gitelson.
In God We Rust is the eighth album of new material comedian Lewis Black has released over the space of 12 years, and when anyone cranks out that much material, it's inevitable that he's not going to hit the bull's-eye every time. On a relative scale, In God We Rust is something of a disappointment, as much of the time Black seems to be aiming for easier and less provocative targets than he has in the past; his take on terrorism, homeland security, and the Tea Party shows he's still capable of sharp and challenging comedy with a political edge, but hearing him riff on faulty smartphones, Facebook, Valentine's Day, and the cast of Jersey Shore is something like watching a gifted pianist playing "Chopsticks" for a recital at Carnegie Hall. In God We Rust isn't bad by any stretch of the imagination, but as a writer, Black is not at the top of his game on this album; however, his delivery is as impressive as ever, and if anything Black's skills as a performer just keep getting better. Hearing Black work himself into a fury of rage and contempt is still one of the most enjoyable things comedy has to offer in the 21st century, but he's been paying attention to his performance dynamics, and the calm between the storms has become nearly as effective as Black in full blathering mode. Black could do better than to shout at his audience about iPhones and Snooki, but what he has to say about them is still frequently hilarious. If Black's hardly the only comedian to offer his two cents on such things, no one else holds forth with the same vigor and venom, and even his easiest targets fully deserve the scorn he lovingly dishes out. In God We Rust is good but not great Lewis Black, but considering just how impressive his best work is, this is still funnier and more challenging than what most of his peers will ever have to offer. ~ Mark Deming