All We Could Do Was Sing Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 11 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: The indie band based in Oakland, California wrote songs for its sophomore album while up in Alaska for the summer.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. 84
    There are some raucous shout-alongs (with pots and pans!), but the band keeps it cohesive as singer Van Pierszalowski steers them through thoughtful waters--standing boldly triumphant in the face of the rempest. [Spring 2008, p.89]
  2. That’s not to say they don’t come across like an all-singing, all-banging Life Aquatic armed with pots, pans and whatever instrument comes to hand, but from the raw, stamping folk-punk to the string layered sea ditties, All We Could Do Was Sing is much more than it initially lets on.
  3. ['Valdez' is] a wholly appropriate ending to an album by a band that makes its own experiences with distance and isolation into something that is, whether sad or celebratory, at once as changeable and as constant as the sea.
  4. All We Could Do Was Sing does exactly what it say on the tin - an astonishing album, rich in storytelling and fables; woven with 11 brilliant songs by a band apparently driven by nothing more than the sheer love of performing.
  5. The good news is that the band's official debut (following the 2007 collection "Wind And The Swell") is still a solid art-pop album at its core, and importantly, more "American Gangster" than "The Crane Wife."
  6. Merging aquatic Americana that casts its net over the gang mentality of Arcade Fire, The Polyphonic Spree and Broken Social Scene – and that most über-overexposed of F-words, folk – it’s clear why Johnny Marr is touting the Californian throng as his new favourite band.
  7. They like wonky jangle that recalls Pavement, mumbling melancholy, and the odd rowdy singalong and flourish of violin. Then something happens: their songs start to snag, and their sharp, simple lyrics do justice to sentiment.

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