Dream Attic - Richard Thompson
Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. Like most live albums, Dream Attic is more about the playing than the material, which is a bit different from the way a new Richard Thompson set works, but when it captures a band this good playing with this authority, that's hardly anything to fret about.
  2. At 73 minutes, the album is kind of long, and perhaps could stand to lose one of its six-minute ballads, but they're all so damn good that we might as well keep them.
  3. 80
    Dream Attic has the brio that matches any of Thompson's past few studio albums. [Sep 2010, p.84]
  4. While you'd hope there is some post-concert studio enhancement afoot, the result is in effect an overly basic live album of new songs. [Oct 2010, p.120]
  5. 80
    Almost impossible to replicate in the studio, this is the level of energy and conviction which drives the album as newly buoyant Thompson discovers his second wind. Scintillating. [Sep 2010, p.93]
  6. Tellingly, Dream Attic is stronger on musicianship than songs-there isn't a "Shoot Out The Lights" or "Small Town Romance" among Thompson's latest offerings, but he and his four-piece band sound so good playing them that it hardly matters.
  7. Being a live album, some tracks are stretched out beyond their natural lifespan (the average length of the songs here is about six and a half minutes), but even then it's a joy to listen to the interaction between Thompson and his band.
  8. 80
    Recording new material live in a series of concerts with his longtime road band is the best idea Thompson's had since he ditched soul-muting '90s producer Mitchell Froom.
  9. This is gloriously vicious, bitter, sad and bleak, even by Richard Thompson's standards.
  10. Though devoid of wobbly notes and feedback echos, Thompson unleashes some of the most visceral guitar solos of his career, and Dream Attic stands beside the best efforts in his catalog.
  11. Although not unanimously blinding, Dream Attic is replete with the kind of deft flourishes and considered wordplay that fans of the singer will be more than familiar with. Chalk up another triumph, then.
  12. Thompson's playing is as fierce as ever, and his band (which includes multi-instrumentalist Pete Zorn) are tight and focused in this setting. Too bad, then, that the songs feel more like Thompson treading water, snipping bits and pieces of past favorites--a guitar solo here, a vocal sneer there--into new songs that lack personality.
  13. Thompson's never been less than inspiring in concert, but here his singing seems especially urgent, while a few of his guitar leaps will leave you shaking your head in wonderment.
  14. For his latest album, Thompson has aimed to inject a batch of new songs with the energy and spontaneity of live performance, a goal he achieves convincingly.
  15. If Dream Attic is any indication, recording studios may soon be as irrelevant to Richard Thompson's career as big record companies are.
  16. Coincidental or not, the [live] setting opens things up considerably for Thompson the guitarist, his songs gaining an immediacy and intensity that sometimes gets refined away in his sometimes too-careful studio recordings.
User Score
tbd

No user score yet- Awaiting 1 more rating

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Nov 23, 2010
    8
    Not his best album by far but the musicianship is excellent as usual and I like the clean, unpolished sound of this recording. Itd be nice if RT could go back and rerecord some of his 90s records (which had better songs but were overproduced) in this format. Full Review »