Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. It would be easy to call this album an exercise in dabbling if the quality of these songs weren't so strong--and it's that quality, along with Bibio's continuing flair for crafting distinctive atmospheres, that are the only constants throughout.
  2. It’d take some mad science to mix all of Bibio’s elements, old and new, into a sound as definitive as the one he established over his first five years as an artist, but Ambivalence Avenue is a great fresh start.
  3. While Ambivalence Avenue is an excellent album by any measure, Bibio deserves extra credit for venturing outside of his established comfort zone.
  4. His remarkable Warp debut follows a series of effective "folktronica" albums on the US independent Mush. [Jul 2009, p.117]
  5. 80
    It helps that Wilkinson sings sweetly, too, distancing and layering his vocals for that dewy, lost-in-the-woods effect. [Aug 2009, p.87]
  6. 60
    Ambivalence Avenue presents a livlier Bibio, tastefully absorbing hip hop and disco beats. [Aug 2009, p.104]
  7. He’s named after his father’s best fishing fly, but the pastoral folk moments on Stephen Wilkinson’s fifth album of chummy electronica pale next to the glut of nostalgic yearning.
  8. For his sense of structure and emotional give and take is acute, so that we move from loud to quiet, from slow to quite fast, from acoustic to electronic, with an ease that makes perfect sense.
  9. Bibio’s tendency, across the album, to either smooth the edges of his creations into non-threatening abstraction or fail to zone in on his best ideas is frustrating.
  10. Bibio's debut for Warp (he's a Mush alum) sounds like the last 10 years of Warp albumized: he noses ahead of Grizzly Bear's latest in terms of likability ('All the Flowers') as often as he lags slightly behind Prefuse 73 in terms of pure choppage chops ('Fire Ant').
  11. Yes, Ambivalence Avenue is an album that defies expectations, and it is also Bibio’s most creative and penetrating release yet.
  12. Stephen Wilkinson has taken the field recordings and organic experiments of his previous albums and filtered them through a stylistic prism, resulting in a kaleidoscopic but nearly uniformly accomplished set of songs.
  13. On this fine album, Wilkinson seems intent on capturing this precious, ambivalent space.
  14. One thing’s for sure, Wilkinson sounds entirely enjoyable on this album. Whether it’s him enjoying himself in crafting this music and/or the fact that Ambivalence Avenue sounds that much more enjoyable than its 2009 predecessor, something’s obviously working.
  15. Bibio's references may already be T-shirts in your bureau, and his dovetailing of crisp guitars, tangling melodies, smart electronic gestures, and resin-hit production values (all evident on the title track) isn't new by any means. But if you can get out from under caring (that is, if you can locate the title lane), you'll feel as liberated as Bibio sounds here — an artist making a mixtape of himself. Folk yes.
  16. This new bag of tricks is implemented with due subtlety that bolsters the charming simplicity qualities, while filling the tracks out and, cautiously, adding some curves.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 8 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. NachoC
    Jul 17, 2009
    9
    To be quite honest I did not know what to expect at first when I bought this album. Bibio is not only a fantastic electronic musician but his lyrics and guitar melodies carry you out throughout the tracks. Recommended. Full Review »