• Record Label: Barsuk
  • Release Date: Jul 24, 2007

Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. Both on a song-for-song basis and as singular cohesive work, Emerald City demonstrates Vanderslice's masterful control of craft at every structural level and his unrivaled ability to make the political personal.
  2. John Vanderslice's sixth full-length, Emerald City, doesn't disappoint.
  3. The entirety of Emerald City seeks to elevate to the personal and the timeless, and top to bottom it is a success.
  4. The production is still huge and full, although audiophiles may be disturbed by the overdriven acoustic guitars on certain songs that give an unnerving sensation of blown speaker cones. It's a forgivable stylistic decision, and doesn't detract much from the overall solidarity of the disc.
  5. The air of uncertainty and doubt he creates is what continually makes his music so intriguing.
  6. Throughout Emerald City, Vanderslice uses his celebrated producing talent to control feedback and mold it into an instrument as vital as the guitar and piano that are so central to his music.
  7. Under The Radar
    Emerald City finds Vanderslice further along his yellow brick road to occupying a truely unique place in indie rock. [Summer 2007, p.77]
  8. Spin
    Emerald City may be his most unsettling work yet. [Aug 2007, p. 110]
  9. The album, like most of Vanderslice’s albums, meanders along like a pleasant afternoon: it is all fair weather and blithe breezes, fairly consistent in both tone and tempo.
  10. Emerald City is vividly imagined yet subtle in tone, with conflicted character sketches unfolding around somber synth melodies, creaky electronic effects, and fuzzy acoustic guitar strums.
  11. 70
    when given the space, the music is alternately compelling and peaceful; unfortunately, the words get in the way.
  12. The problem is that Vanderslice’s lyrical scope remains too broad to enable a cohesive or definitive conceptual statement, and his music too tightly defined and predictable to be considered a departure.
  13. While Vanderslice's observations and commentary sounded fresh and fierce two years ago, the same essential message run through similarly sounding songs this time around rings hollow.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 22 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 22
  2. Negative: 3 out of 22
  1. KevinC.
    Sep 24, 2007
    Pitchfork got it way wrong this time. David Raposa sounds like high school reviewer who just discovered you can look up lyrics on Google. Pitchfork got it way wrong this time. David Raposa sounds like high school reviewer who just discovered you can look up lyrics on Google. Even if he's right about the lyrical content, it's beside the point. Furthermore, if Vanderslice IS still stuck on 9/11, why is that a fault? If Raposa was not as affected, then just admit that up-front and get a less biased reviewer. All that to say, give this disc a shot. Play it through a few times. Emerald City is easily one of the best albums of the year. Full Review »
  2. AllanC.
    Sep 21, 2007
    Great sound and loved it from top to bottom.
  3. MarkG
    Sep 18, 2007
    Great record.