Acousmatic Sorcery - Willis Earl Beal
Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. Apr 6, 2012
    80
    Like strangers arguing in public or a weary couple who went out to dinner just to break up loudly in the restaurant, Acousmatic Sorcery offers a similar, sometimes unbearably honest look into a very personal world.
  2. Apr 30, 2012
    50
    Ultimately, a good story in and of itself does not a transcendent album make. Acousmatic Sorcery struggles with being everything you want its out-of-the-box art to be and the reality of what it is: an intriguing work overloaded with unedited brainstorms and non-sequiturs that rarely gives the more compelling elements room to breathe and stretch out.
  3. Apr 2, 2012
    72
    While Acousmatic Sorcery is interesting and occasionally even great on its own, it ultimately it feels very much like a hyper-creative and gifted artist trying to figure out what he's doing.
  4. Apr 24, 2012
    80
    Mesmerising. [May 2012, p.96]
  5. Jul 18, 2012
    80
    Beal's vocals shift from Screaming Jay Hawkins wails to the lo-fi R&B melancholy of Cody ChesnuTT, while his chattering snake times rhythms summon up the ghosts of Moondog and Sun Ra, taking things to another level entirely. [Jun 2012, p.83]
  6. Apr 3, 2012
    91
    What comes through most clearly on the album is Beal's burning desire to be heard, however it was going to happen, and a confidence that his talent deserves it.
  7. In short, there's lo-fi, and then there's this album.
  8. Apr 10, 2012
    60
    A bundle of raw, karaoke machine-recorded songs reminiscent of early Devendra Banhart and the more emotive work of Wesley Willis. [Mar 2012, p. 87]
  9. Apr 17, 2012
    80
    Despite (or maybe because of) his peculiar web of influences, Beal is a strikingly singular performer, synthesizing various muses into something deeply unique.
  10. Mar 27, 2012
    80
    Acousmatic Sorcery won't propel Beal to Lana Del Rey levels of fame ... it's too weird, too spooky, too idiosyncratic for that. For those who do connect with Beal's gloriously skewed vision though, you're in for a treat.
  11. Apr 2, 2012
    70
    There are moments worth latching on to but for the full effect, go stand in a club with him and watch him perform.
  12. Mar 29, 2012
    40
    Being unconventional and uninterested in making concessions to the listener is no guarantee of art, and it's hard not to suspect that without the backstory Beal would be just another bedroom artist putting out music to an audience in the dozens.
  13. Apr 10, 2012
    65
    Beal's lyrics proves to be the major sticking point for an album that is quite successful. Most of these tracks follow the kind of topsy turvy logic of a Kaufman film.
  14. Apr 3, 2012
    60
    It's a collection of veiled promise, but only partial pay-off.
  15. 70
    Despite a few missteps, Acousmatic Sorcery is still a unique debut announcing the emergence of a fresh talent worthy of the buzz Beal has been receiving.
  16. Mar 28, 2012
    70
    What is present is that instant-click connection between artist and audience that only comes with the most naked of performances--Monotony is one such riveting recital, sketchy yet complete--and Beal's commitment to documenting the minutiae alongside the meaningful in comparable detail ensures that even-handedness permeates the entire set.
  17. Mar 27, 2012
    80
    Willis Earl Beal is a phenomenal vocalist, with a unique drawl and searing tone. Phenomenal in virtuosity, yet even more astounding with his delivery.
  18. Oct 9, 2012
    40
    It's frustrating and intriguing in equal doses.
  19. 70
    Out of its many blues like qualities the one that I see potentially defining the album as a whole is its rawness.
  20. Apr 17, 2012
    90
    This is a minimalist masterpiece.
  21. Apr 2, 2012
    80
    At times it's testing, but there are flashes of phenomenal creative genius here that are destined to manifest further.
  22. Beal appears determined to make his debut as inaccessible as possible. Intentionally crappy instrumentation holds the album back, stealing the focus from what is an incendiary voice--a lot of casual fans will be dumbfounded by this grating, uneasy listening.
  23. Apr 2, 2012
    80
    You'll either love it or hate it but, ignore the buzz, take it on it's own merits, and you might very well be rewarded.
  24. Mar 27, 2012
    60
    Acousmatic Sorcery is an occasionally iridescent collection of songs, but at the end of the day it feels too tasteful, too self-consciously curated.
  25. 80
    Acousmatic Sorcery's imperfections are unapologetic and unconcerned, largely stamping all over any chances of bringing the overall experience down.
User Score
5.8

Mixed or average reviews- based on 6 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Jun 6, 2012
    5
    Clearly Good Vocals But Musicly Willis Earl Beal Needs ALOT OF HELP!
    Very Mixed Feelings About The Album..
  2. May 26, 2012
    7
    Earl Willis Beal on his latest album "Acousmatic Sorcery" by recording in lo-fi technique and quite minimalist overtones created works of incredible atmosphere. We can find reminiscent of Bob Dylan "Monotony", blues "Take Me Away" or a completely carefree "Evening's Kiss". Design of the album is quite unique, avant-garde and the most worthy of attention. Full Review »