User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 100 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 68 out of 100
  2. Negative: 23 out of 100

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  1. MatthewB
    Jan 4, 2008
    10
    It's an album people seem either to love or to hate. So at least it's not a mediocrity, which is probably the worst thing of all. I think it's brilliant.
  2. JonathanW.
    Oct 6, 2008
    10
    I'm seeing people discuss this as electronic music. First and foremost, I'd like to point out that while electronic elements are certainly in use here, most of the sound comes from more classical instruments, from clarinets to trumpets to loads of strings, even a children's choir. Part of the allure for me was trying to place those sounds within the recording, which sounds I'm seeing people discuss this as electronic music. First and foremost, I'd like to point out that while electronic elements are certainly in use here, most of the sound comes from more classical instruments, from clarinets to trumpets to loads of strings, even a children's choir. Part of the allure for me was trying to place those sounds within the recording, which sounds so cold at first that, yes, it could turn people off (and obviously does). But it's called me back more than most other albums that have come out in the past decade, still retaining the air of mystery while my expectations for the melodic changes become more and more filled with excitement. Expand
  3. BohoG
    Aug 10, 2009
    10
    I'd like to know what the people who say this record sound like a fridge or whatever would say if they heard some drone which is genuinely lacking in harmony, or even slightly more obtuse than sotl. i mean wtf this is one of the most innately beautiful albums i've ever heard. people who don't like this just don't understand music.
  4. AndyB.
    Nov 18, 2007
    10
    This would be just a bit below 10 for me. It doesn't surprise me that people are not too pleased with this. But it works in a different way than most music does. Re: is this music? Good question. It's closer to pure sound, and all it suggests seems to matter a lot more than what it explicitly states - it certainly doesn't say a lot. The emotional map for this would probably This would be just a bit below 10 for me. It doesn't surprise me that people are not too pleased with this. But it works in a different way than most music does. Re: is this music? Good question. It's closer to pure sound, and all it suggests seems to matter a lot more than what it explicitly states - it certainly doesn't say a lot. The emotional map for this would probably be completely polarized: either you embrace the warmth or feel just bored. Sure, it's easier to fall asleep to this (and to treat hangover too, it works). So eventually this is really up to the listener because it's most of the time completely abstract (A few expections would be "Humectez La Mouture" which is just jubilant by the album's standards and the melancholy "Tippy's Demise") It really doesn't give you an emotion to deal with in most tunes. It even evades attachment for some and leaves them yawning. But isn't consciousness a boring state anyway? Expand
  5. TenchC.
    Nov 19, 2007
    10
    Stick to pop music you philistines. This is obviously above you.
  6. PeterS.
    Nov 19, 2007
    10
    Phenomenal
  7. CaineS.
    Nov 27, 2007
    9
    A must for any ambient fan. I listen to this one and "Tired Sounds" all the time when studying and doing homework.
  8. BrianE.
    Dec 12, 2007
    9
    This is a subtle, beautiful album. People that don't get it probably don't understand a thing about ambient music. For shame.
  9. PeoplePeople
    Jan 20, 2008
    7
    Nice Iban. Very thought provoking review "you"wrote there. How about not plagiarizing inches below the review. You just convinced me to buy this.
  10. StuP
    Jan 9, 2008
    10
    No it isn't for everyone but anyone who can't put on a pair of headphones, close their eyes and feel washed away by the gorgeous soundscapes must be very hard indeed. I have been listening to it constantly whilst marking 31 SAT papers and it has helped a great deal!
  11. GClark
    Apr 11, 2008
    10
    This is just one of the greatest albums ever released in the drone music genre. If you like drone music, chances are you know Stars of the Lid already. If you don't... Well, why are you listening anyway? Drone music uses sustained sounds and is very slow. You've been warned. Stop trolling.
  12. AmbientF
    Apr 21, 2008
    10
    Excellent music for late night pondering. Well, for that matter, it is excellent music for any time of the day!
  13. LieuG.
    Nov 20, 2007
    10
    Probably the most boring album of the year for most. Arguably the best album of the year for some. Undoubtedly the album of the year for me.
  14. MojoPiN
    Nov 24, 2007
    8
    Minimalist and beautiful, although I don't think it's the best album of the year. Give that to Radiohead for their strong melodies and lack of fear of experimentation. But as a mind-opening and different experience, yes, slow tones fading in and out with subtle grace and patience do win the day.
  15. blahblah
    Dec 17, 2007
    7
    Stars of the Lid still hold a neat position between refined, tasteful ambient and classical instrumentation and composition; and on this record they seem to be leaning further over to the latter. With this in mind I hope this is yet another step in a sound that has been slowly evolving for a decade. There's some soul-crushingly beautiful music on this disc but they could do with Stars of the Lid still hold a neat position between refined, tasteful ambient and classical instrumentation and composition; and on this record they seem to be leaning further over to the latter. With this in mind I hope this is yet another step in a sound that has been slowly evolving for a decade. There's some soul-crushingly beautiful music on this disc but they could do with cutting it down a bit on to one CD - it doesn't manage to get away with it like Tired Sounds did because it's not so "continuous" and dreamy as that release. Expand
  16. CH
    Oct 21, 2008
    10
    Pretty? Pleasant? It sounds like people need to learn how to listen to other forms of music aside from voice. If voice or repetitive beats are needed to capture your attention, you might want to reconsider voting at all for such an album or genre. This album is simply stunning.
  17. NathanK
    Nov 15, 2007
    9
    Fantasticly crafted sounds.
  18. JohnH.
    Dec 13, 2007
    10
    This is possibly the most beautiful music I have heard this year. This album is a subtle, yet powerful hybrid between modern classical and ambient music. Granted, this type of music is not for everyone, especially since people these days are always looking for instant gratification (i.e. MTV/ radio), and never seem to have enough to time to slow down and enjoy the latent complexities in This is possibly the most beautiful music I have heard this year. This album is a subtle, yet powerful hybrid between modern classical and ambient music. Granted, this type of music is not for everyone, especially since people these days are always looking for instant gratification (i.e. MTV/ radio), and never seem to have enough to time to slow down and enjoy the latent complexities in life. The drone-based songs are melancholy yet soothing, and perfect for accompanying the more meditative and reflective moments in life. It took me weeks of listening to understand this album, but now stars of the lid are one of my favorite bands. So I encourage people to listen beneath the surface, and most of all be patient when trying to understand this album. You won Expand
  19. Jul 4, 2011
    10
    This is one of my favourite albums of all time. "Even If You're Never Awake" is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. People giving this album negative reviews because it is a "bunch of random tones slowly fading in and out" should educate themselves on drone and ambient music; it's like giving a negative score to Metallica because "there is too much of electric guitars andThis is one of my favourite albums of all time. "Even If You're Never Awake" is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. People giving this album negative reviews because it is a "bunch of random tones slowly fading in and out" should educate themselves on drone and ambient music; it's like giving a negative score to Metallica because "there is too much of electric guitars and shouting" or to 2Pac, because "his music is just talking over a beat". Expand
  20. mr
    Nov 16, 2007
    10
    finally some respect this is genuinely some of the most brilliant music of our times, and its time people take notice keep the lids on!
  21. AlexA.
    Nov 18, 2007
    8
    Best ambient album I've ever heared.
  22. 6138
    May 2, 2008
    10
    Incredible album, every realease of this guys is better and better compared to its predecessors. not foor everyone, but if you like ambient/drone/classical-contemporary music you can't be wrong with this!
  23. Jamie
    Nov 20, 2007
    10
    Stars Of The Lid - like many of their fellow ambient acts - are not meant to be enjoyed by everyone. To some, yes, this album is nothing but pointless drone and drawn out notes and sounds. To others, such as myself, this album is a thing of sheer beauty, music that in its deceptive simplicity transports me to another dimension, another realm of feeling. Neither side of the argument is Stars Of The Lid - like many of their fellow ambient acts - are not meant to be enjoyed by everyone. To some, yes, this album is nothing but pointless drone and drawn out notes and sounds. To others, such as myself, this album is a thing of sheer beauty, music that in its deceptive simplicity transports me to another dimension, another realm of feeling. Neither side of the argument is wrong; this is definitely a love/hate album in a love/hate genre. Call me crazy, call me deluded to the truth, but I listen to a lot of other music that would generally be agreed upon to have 'substance', 'progression', and other such terms being thrown around, and none of it has quite the lasting effect of what the very name of the band implies on me: What exists behind closed eyelids, when everything else is quiet, the 'nothingness' between conscious and subconscious. It might lack a bit of the "melodic structure" (if you can refer to anything on their albums as such, thus term used VERY loosely) of 'Tired Sounds Of...', but it's far more effective, at least in my opinion, at just relaxing and clearing my mind, opening up new doors of thought, in a remarkably fluid manner. Expand
  24. WeT.
    Dec 1, 2007
    10
    This is beautiful evocative stuff that's almost impossible to be classified in a genre. And I even think it's a good thing that there are voters around to give a 1 or 2 star rating. This music isn't for the masses. It is to be savored in a warm place and be given a spin every now and then. My number 1 for 2007.
  25. EricC
    Aug 19, 2008
    9
    Well, here's another reason why idiots should not buy a record on a high metascore alone. How hard is it to go to Amazon or Allmusic.com and listen to some samples? A 2 disc, about 2 hour drone album is not for everyone. I don't mean to sound like an elitist jerk, but you have to learn how to appreciate ambient. Albums like these reward patience, and you may have to approach it Well, here's another reason why idiots should not buy a record on a high metascore alone. How hard is it to go to Amazon or Allmusic.com and listen to some samples? A 2 disc, about 2 hour drone album is not for everyone. I don't mean to sound like an elitist jerk, but you have to learn how to appreciate ambient. Albums like these reward patience, and you may have to approach it differently than standard rock or pop. But enough whining and preaching. This is another stunning Stars of the Lid album. It may not show the same kind of evolution as other releases (it is very similar to Tired Sounds, which is surprising given the long break between the two) but that hardly matters, as it carries more emotional weight then most other music out there. SotL are the most signifficant drone composers, and they are still at the top of their game. Expand
  26. AntonyP
    Sep 11, 2009
    10
    Just returning to this, I didn't get it at first, but this is really a classic, like in fact most Stars of the Lid records.
  27. BrennanL.
    Nov 16, 2007
    7
    Number one album for 2007? Surely you jest! I like this album too, but this is far from the title of Album Of The Year. It's pretty much a little-more-than-mediocre ambient album.
  28. JohnE.
    Nov 16, 2007
    10
    Probably my favorite Stars of the Lid album to date. It is stunningly beautiful and introspective and combines the best parts of SotL's past works.
  29. powell
    Nov 16, 2007
    9
    cue backlash.
  30. AliciaM.
    Nov 18, 2007
    8
    Apparently, these people complaining about the "electronic nonsense" that "indie kids" listen to are apparently ignoring the works of brian eno, and the past ambient artists that have been around for YEARS. While Stars of the Lid is not Brian Eno, this album is a great modern take on it. Their previous album was better, though, and less repetitive than this. However, I'd suggest Apparently, these people complaining about the "electronic nonsense" that "indie kids" listen to are apparently ignoring the works of brian eno, and the past ambient artists that have been around for YEARS. While Stars of the Lid is not Brian Eno, this album is a great modern take on it. Their previous album was better, though, and less repetitive than this. However, I'd suggest Eluvium over Stars of the Lid simply for the added instrumentals and precise beauty of Eluvium. Expand
  31. CraigW.
    Nov 18, 2007
    9
    It's a bit of an anomaly to include this is a chart. A chart implies competition, winners, et al. This record is to be savoured in the right circumstances and come back to again and again, to allow its nuances to be revealed, and its character exposed. It's not really a 'must buy' for genre hoppers, it's for people who listen to sounds and like to be immersed in It's a bit of an anomaly to include this is a chart. A chart implies competition, winners, et al. This record is to be savoured in the right circumstances and come back to again and again, to allow its nuances to be revealed, and its character exposed. It's not really a 'must buy' for genre hoppers, it's for people who listen to sounds and like to be immersed in drone. It's wonderful. Expand
  32. Karl
    Nov 22, 2007
    10
    I don't like it as much as their previous timeless outing (a bit too new-agey in places) Nonetheless it's nice to see these guys getting some recognition here (album was released like 6 months ago), their last few albums have contained some of the most moving and affecting music I've ever heard, i esp. love avec laudenum and tired sounds.
  33. MycroftW.
    Nov 26, 2007
    8
    Like with the Field I have no idea why the critics have taken to likening this record so much, unlike the Field I in fact quite enjoy listening to it.
  34. ShaneS.
    Dec 10, 2007
    10
    This is one of the most challenging albums I've heard in a long time. The low reviews are unsurprising, since really on the surface, nothing much stands out for the catchy pop mainstream. Some have likened this to new age, and I'm not sure that's a fair comparison. New age music--in the sense that I've been acquainted with it--seems more like the easy listening, This is one of the most challenging albums I've heard in a long time. The low reviews are unsurprising, since really on the surface, nothing much stands out for the catchy pop mainstream. Some have likened this to new age, and I'm not sure that's a fair comparison. New age music--in the sense that I've been acquainted with it--seems more like the easy listening, un-challenging sentiment you might find in the CD players of people who don't really want to listen to music; they just want to relax. Certainly, And Their Refinement of the Decline works to that effect as well, but actually latching onto its nuances is rather more rewarding than letting it marinate in the background without having much to do. Expand
  35. DDTired
    Dec 16, 2007
    10
    Anyone else think that the low scores are all coming from the same bored dude?
  36. AlexH.
    Dec 9, 2007
    9
    I assume most of the contrarian haters A. don't like this sort of music in the first place and B. didn't actually give it a proper listen. Talk about 'scenes' and 'indie kids' is meaningless; music isn't fashion. If you like Brian Eno's ambient work or modern composers like Gavin Bryars you'll probably enjoy this. It's fine as I assume most of the contrarian haters A. don't like this sort of music in the first place and B. didn't actually give it a proper listen. Talk about 'scenes' and 'indie kids' is meaningless; music isn't fashion. If you like Brian Eno's ambient work or modern composers like Gavin Bryars you'll probably enjoy this. It's fine as background/reading music but hearing it in full quality with full attention is the most rewarding way to listen to the album. Expand
  37. MattD
    Apr 21, 2008
    10
    Perhaps the most important music being made today.... Stars of the Lid could just bridge the gap between classical and pop music.
  38. andym
    Nov 15, 2007
    10
    usually - when I see a rating this high, I'm skeptical, but I have to say...I agree with all the accolades. This is some of the best ambient music since its beginnings.
  39. AndrewM.
    Nov 16, 2007
    10
    If you're looking for the best album of 2007, your search is over. You have found it.
  40. Matt
    Nov 18, 2007
    9
    Not sure why this just popped up since its been out since April...In any case its one of my personal favs for the year. easily top 3. Forewarning: This album in NOT for everybody, and those used to typical MTV pop are going to be sorely disappointed when they go checking this out b/c its gotten rave reviews. However, if you are a fan of ambient you already know The Stars of the Lid are Not sure why this just popped up since its been out since April...In any case its one of my personal favs for the year. easily top 3. Forewarning: This album in NOT for everybody, and those used to typical MTV pop are going to be sorely disappointed when they go checking this out b/c its gotten rave reviews. However, if you are a fan of ambient you already know The Stars of the Lid are the best in the game today. I believe Allmusic summed up SOTL the best: "There are detractors -- or better yet, cynics -- who wonder why, and how, music like this, music that simply is, that evolves and returns to silence over and over again, is even necessary. The answer is simple: because the sound on And Their Refinement of the Decline is the sound of everything already after it has fallen apart. It is not a sound that dares to rebuild anything, speak anything, or declare anything. It simply wants to document what happens when it all goes to hell, and in that space, that quiet space, Stars of the Lid emerges with a sound that is as hopeful as it is funereal. It is simply the sound of "is-ness," something that becomes nothing, only to become something again." Expand
  41. DD.
    Nov 19, 2007
    8
    Have you ever seen the movie crash? This might be the soundtrack, at least it sounds like it.
  42. discombobulator
    Dec 18, 2007
    8
    Stars of the Lid have gotten me through my end of year exams. This was the soundtrack to my study sessions. I'd never heard of them before this.
  43. Jun 23, 2011
    9
    This album doesn't require an epiphany or hard work on the part of the listener -- you either like it or you don't. I'm not sure whether it was "hard to create" or not -- my guess is that it was not easy. But regardless, to me it's beautiful and revelatory. Don't worry about hype or fashion: just turn the music on, listen for a while, and decide whether you like it. If you don't like it,This album doesn't require an epiphany or hard work on the part of the listener -- you either like it or you don't. I'm not sure whether it was "hard to create" or not -- my guess is that it was not easy. But regardless, to me it's beautiful and revelatory. Don't worry about hype or fashion: just turn the music on, listen for a while, and decide whether you like it. If you don't like it, no problem. Expand
  44. Jan 10, 2013
    10
    Another album that's a prime example of simple purity in music always wins. I'm already in the minority of the general population who enjoys music like this, and this particular album. But I'm realizing I'm also in a second-tier minority among lovers of SOTL...because I hear lovers of this stuff often say that it sounds like space, fantasy, or some distant removed place. Or that it'sAnother album that's a prime example of simple purity in music always wins. I'm already in the minority of the general population who enjoys music like this, and this particular album. But I'm realizing I'm also in a second-tier minority among lovers of SOTL...because I hear lovers of this stuff often say that it sounds like space, fantasy, or some distant removed place. Or that it's thought provoking, relaxing,, and great to get a massage to, etc. And that's all great. But to me, SOTl, and this album, couldn't feel more organic, down-to-earth and real. I may relax to it, but using this album merely as a tool to relax almost seems like a slight disservice to it. Even delicate, simple music deserves our attention and the deeper I listen to this album the more rewarding it is. Expand
  45. Aug 23, 2016
    9
    Dreamy, spiritual, haunting. Stars of the Lid's "And Their Refinement Of The Decline" is one of their most textured and moving records. 2-full hours of unique tracks each resonante with different emotional rigor. A rewarding listen.

    HiFi speakers/headphones are a must for this CD.
Metascore
87

Universal acclaim - based on 13 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. It's an awesome thing, this album, and anyone, virtually anyone who encounters it will be in some way moved by the impure music it contains.
  2. Call it music for lucid dreaming, call it music for daydreams, or call it music for simply strolling in the dusk, this is another album that will stretch time and take you to another place.
  3. If nothing else, Stars of the Lid have achieved Adam's goal of making music "to really relax to," abjectly defying intent listening, laying waste to the established vocabulary of music production and appreciation.