Metascore
68

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. Aug 18, 2011
    90
    If Small Craft on a Milk Sea was an installation piece in the museum of Brian Eno's career, requiring rapt attention to find meaning, Drums Between the Bells is modern art that immediately captures those witnessing it in a state of aesthetic arrest.
  2. Aug 22, 2011
    87
    The cadences, demeanors and vocal tones certainly add an interesting wrinkle to Eno's dynamic, but a few exceptions aside, I'm generally too enraptured in his rich compositions to decipher the staggered wordplay.
  3. Aug 22, 2011
    80
    The record, lacking choruses or pop hooks, isn't one to turn to for instant gratification. Instead, it's an engaging marriage of words and music.
  4. Aug 22, 2011
    80
    It is, frankly, classic Eno. Holland too emerges from it well, though his contributions tend to be less immediate.
  5. Aug 22, 2011
    80
    The decision to vary the speaking participants helps distinguish each piece, and gives the album just the hint of variety it needs.
  6. Aug 19, 2011
    80
    Drums Between The Bells captures Eno in versatile and intricate mode. [Aug 2011, p.82]
  7. Aug 18, 2011
    80
    An equally engaging sonic concept entitled Drums Between The Bells.
  8. Aug 22, 2011
    75
    The newly minted Drums Between the Bells with poet Rick Holland, don't break ground, but serve as pleasant place-holders for Eno obsessives.
  9. Aug 22, 2011
    75
    All the same, Drums Between the Bells makes for a richly atmospheric listen, one that allows the listener to cut the cord from reality and float off into a beautifully curated space.
  10. Aug 23, 2011
    70
    Everything is warm and accessible, occasionally too much so. [Jul 2011, p.48]
  11. The effect is softly inclusive without being entirely bland, and even if Holland's poetry doesn't ring your bell as poetry, then it certain works in this context as sound-art.
  12. Aug 22, 2011
    70
    At times Drums Between The Bells is too busy, too packed with musical style and incident, but its patchwork nature reveals itself over subsequent listens to be a largely rewarding one.
  13. Aug 18, 2011
    70
    Drums Between The Bells is challenging and complex, but evocative, rewarding, and not altogether fragmentary, not even (or especially) when you bust up the long-playing order.
  14. Aug 18, 2011
    70
    Like many of Eno's projects, Drums Between the Bells skips around fitfully off a loose central theme, leaving room for big stylistic gaps and a little bit of dead space.
  15. 67
    The glitch distortions and keyboard drones are well chosen, even when guest readers (including a woman from Eno's gym) prove hit and miss.
  16. Aug 22, 2011
    67
    Holland's muse guides the album, and his ultra-serious counterculturalisms can be a drag after a while.
  17. Aug 18, 2011
    66
    The problem with it, beyond a handful of unflattering genre excursions, is a slight but persistent thinness of imagination.
  18. Nov 22, 2011
    60
    In louder and busier sections it's easy to lose the text and there's no melody as consolation. [Aug. 2011, p. 94]
  19. Aug 22, 2011
    60
    The main flaw with Eno and Holland's collaboration is that words which, read on a page or spoken into silence, might have the space to spark a host of mental images, here frequently seem flattened by the music.
  20. Aug 19, 2011
    60
    Even if the project isn't a wholly qualified success, Eno is still putting most of his peers to shame. [Jul 2011, p.84]
  21. Aug 19, 2011
    60
    Holland's fragmentary syntax, rendered in a variety of heavily treated voices, rarely proves as mesmeric as the music. [Aug 2011, p.116]
  22. Aug 18, 2011
    60
    Often it feels more like an overly conscious art project rather than an album that will sustain repeated listening; it's undeniably, admirably beautiful in parts, but ultimately too consciously cerebral and self satisfied to love.
  23. Aug 18, 2011
    60
    An album of poetry set to music might not be what the world wants from Brian Eno.
  24. Aug 18, 2011
    60
    Glitch's motorik electronics and Seedpods' airy grooves are compelling, but at times it feels as if Eno is stubbornly working against himself.
  25. 60
    It's pleasant enough, but sometimes the words do rather get in the way.
  26. Aug 22, 2011
    55
    Somehow, when put together, the artists' individual strengths are watered down, resulting in a mixture of the benign and the over-the-top, depending on the particular song.
  27. 50
    While this album may have taken that last bit a little too literally (or perhaps not literally enough?), it has moments that do just that, blending the perfect amount of dance-ability, intrigue, and emotional power.
  28. 50
    Drums Between the Bells is by no means an embarrassment, but don't look for it to be lumped into the upper echelon of Eno's output either, where triumphs like Discreet Music or Another Green World reside.
  29. Aug 22, 2011
    50
    Drums Between the Bells at its simplest is often Drums Between the Bells at its best.
  30. Aug 18, 2011
    50
    Sonic strategist Eno is clearly in "oblique" mode here.
  31. Aug 18, 2011
    50
    Drums Between the Bells feels like one big obstacle of an album.
  32. Aug 22, 2011
    40
    The combination of Eno's obsession with stasis and his attachment to novelty for its own sake does the album in.
User Score
tbd

No user score yet- Awaiting 2 more ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Sep 29, 2011
    8
    An 'eclectic mix' I think. Some tracks with infectious rhythms, some simple melodies and ambient atmospheres, the usual clarity of production and instrumentation. The spoken words occasionally grate, but are, on the whole, wonderfully playful and with a range of deliveries from the theatrical (one sounding like Judy Dench) to the processed (Kraftwerk might have produced it) there is plenty to engage both sides of the brian...or should that be Brain? Full Review »