Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 28
  2. Negative: 3 out of 28
  1. Riskier but not totally out of character; it's the more holistic right brain to Wide Awake's rational left brain. [Feb 2005, p.81]
  2. A painfully honest, emotionally draining album. [22 Jan 2005, p.49]
  3. A bold, essential chapter in this young man's inspired body of work.
  4. 88
    There are a few failed experiments... but these failures are punctuated by astounding moments. [#14, p.95]
  5. Digital Ash offers enough swelling, androgynous moments to approach its hype, or at least keep up with its release partner.
  6. 80
    The songs are neither dogmatic nor whacked out. Like fine pop writers before him, Oberst's simply wrestling with something troubling he feels thick in the air. [Feb 2005, p.72]
  7. 80
    Bright Eyes' foray into the digital domain is among the more interesting experiments of this young year. [Mar 2005, p.109]
  8. Not as consistent as its de facto partner, Digital Ash still contains several euphoric highs.
  9. Mark[s] a remarkable progression from Oberst's teen troubadour origins.
  10. Digital Ash has the claustrophobic feel of a singer locked up with a computer, and it's distractingly chipper, like Rilo Kiley in their own Dntel homages; not every Bright Eyes record has to be an emotional epic, but Digital Ash feels like a practice run.
  11. The found sounds on Digital Ash can seem an affected and unnecessary embellishment in certain places.... But in other places they work.
  12. This is not a classic – each high is paired with a low of similar scale, so whilst ‘Down In A Rabbit Hole’ scales heights previously thought unreachable, ‘Ship In A Bottle’, with baby samples screeching over the top of the most base-level beats, is plain annoying.
  13. Despite all the bleeps and blurbs of this album’s electronic window dressing, it’s still Oberst’s emo-tive honesty and lyrical daring that makes up for the album’s forgettable moments.
  14. Oberst's tunes are too lumpy to accommodate the smoothness demanded of synth-pop, and the cumulative effect is often dreary. [4 Feb 2005, p.130]
  15. Over-produced and (regrettably) heavily dependent on synth-powered '80s grooves.
  16. There's an 80s Anglophilic feel throughout, and like the era they're paying homage to it's all very hit and miss.
  17. 60
    Mostly, these electro trances... sound like an ill-advised quest to make a Williamsburg version of Dark Side Of The Moon. [Mar 2005, p.132]
  18. The good songs don't start kicking in until about halfway through, after many synth glitches and botched break beats. But once it gets going, it's phenomenal.
  19. Digital Ash in a Digital Urn is a weepy response to the Postal Service.
  20. It tips its hand too early, frontloading its best songs and rendering the second half excessive and ponderous.
  21. Up against the carefully realized Wide Awake, Digital Ash is a mess, and not just sonically.
  22. 58
    Most of Digital's songs seem somewhat suffocated. [Feb 2005, p.85]
  23. Ultimately, it's hard not to feel that this album is little more than a blatant attempt to ape the Postal Service's Give Up.
  24. Experimental and confusing... Oberst's voice struggles to hit home through the effects. [Jan 2005, p.129]
  25. A stark collection of early 1980's keyboard melodies and anxious guitar solos, Oberst's dark dreams are numb with death and paranoia.
  26. Digital garnishment works for Wilco, but not so much for the beat-impaired Oberst.
  27. 20
    Ghastly. [Feb 2005, p.102]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 75 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 45 out of 54
  2. Negative: 6 out of 54
  1. Sep 6, 2013
    Wow, just wow. This is absolutely beautiful! Possibly my favorite album by bright eyes, I just can't believe it's taken me so long to stumble across it! Full Review »
  2. Oct 9, 2011
    My favourite songs on the album are 1)Take It Easy (Love Nothing) 2)I Believe in Symmetry 3)Gold Mine Gutted 4)Hit the Switch. The ending of the song Devil in the Details is also freaken brilliant. While this album is not the most beloved by Bright Eyes fans, I find the lyrics deep and incredibly relatable. Some of my favourite songs are contained within. Full Review »