Cannibal Sea - The Essex Green

Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. Cannibal Sea is the equal of anything the Ladybug Transistor have released (which is saying a whole lot), and is better than just about any indie pop or rock circa 2006.
  2. Cannibal Sea is startlingly immediate.
  3. For the most part, Cannibal Sea differs little from The Long Goodbye: the elements that made that album successful – tight songwriting, precise arrangements and elegant performances – are once again employed with aplomb.
  4. Overflows with pristine melodies, sugary harmonies [and] a barely-definable sense of heartbreak. [3 Jun 2006, p.33]
  5. 80
    It's clear The Essex Green have joined The New Pornographers and The Shins among indie-pop's most insinuating and accomplished bands. [Jun 2006, p.100]
  6. The disc remains infectious throughout. [Jun/Jul 2006, p.131]
  7. [It's] hard not to fall in love with each and every song upon first listen.
  8. The Essex Green takes some weird chances on its third album, Cannibal Sea, and while some are about as appealing as a peanut-butter-and-sardine sandwich, others bend genres into striking new shapes.
  9. The difference, as between fellow Merge band the Rosebuds' debut and sophomore albums, is a greater engagement with the prevailing indiepop aesthetic rather than long-dead flower-cliché epochs, though without quite the songwriting chops of Bell and guitarist Jeff Baron's other band, Ladybug Transistor.
  10. Essex Green do a fine job of staying on retro's good side. [May 2006, p.162]
  11. Cannibal Sea's saccharine pop flirts at times with levels likely to cause diabetic seizures in the biggest Cardigans and Komeda fans, but the band does a good job of maintaining the album's balance.
  12. They've constructed a menagerie of animal references and escape fantasies that encompass acoustic reverie and snappy Motown-like bounce.
  13. When they’re trying, as they do especially on the first half of the album, Cannibal Sea can be quite enjoyable.
  14. Seems just a bit empty. [#13, p.91]
  15. Cannibal Sea is a mellow concoction well-suited to fans of cerebral indie pop.
  16. What we’re left with is an album that retreads a lot of familiar ground, but does it well, exploring a narrow but richly developed arc of ‘60s-influenced indie-pop.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 7 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. time
    Mar 10, 2007
    They have good songs but they can't even be spoken in the same sentence as Camera Obscura. In fact their more Incubus than anything. Of course they're better than Pavement. Listening to actual Pavement being demolished by construction workers is better than listening to Pavement. Full Review »
  2. mikeys
    May 5, 2006
    An excellent cd to get for summer, I love it!
  3. TheBigCrunch
    Apr 29, 2006
    A nearly flawless piece of sunny and sophisticated pop. Of the fifty to sixty albums I've heard that have been released in 2006, this is easily in my top five. Critics who have dismissed Cannibal Sea for simply being a reappropriation of previously used pop tropes have completely missed the point. Pop/rock endlessly recycles itself, and pure originality is extremely rare, and frequently results in some fairly awful music. When judging a a straight ahead pop album like this (or the new Belle and Sebastian, or Gulliemotts, Elbow, etc...) the measure should be on how originally and effectively the band has reappropriated the core elements inherent in almost all pop/rock. In that regard, this album is something of a mini-masterpiece of sunny, breezy, excellently written guitar/bass/drums/synth pop music. If a better "summer" albums is released this year, I'll be shocked. Full Review »