Front Parlour Ballads - Richard Thompson
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. Front Parlor Ballads is built from modest stuff, but the finished product is as strong as anything Thompson has recorded in the past ten years.
  2. The surprise here is that Thompson has been able to create such a crackerjack of an album from such sparse and dark materials.
  3. Front Parlour Ballads offers the traditional Thompson mix of lush folk beauty and cruel knife-twisting lyrics.
  4. 100
    May just be the most concise and potent distillation of Thompson's art to date. [Album of the Month, Sep 2005, p.98]
  5. Mostly the results are pleasingly wry and wise. [Sep 2005, p.118]
  6. 80
    Less has become more for Richard Thompson. [Sep 2005, p.96]
  7. A few tracks feel forced... but the majority have the effortless sound of a master who's been at it for four decades. [11 Aug 2005, p.70]
  8. Perhaps he needs the pressure or the camaraderie. Perhaps not. But for some reason, Thompson sounds detached from the songs on Front Parlour Ballads, even though he's in the thick of them.
  9. While this may not be the best place to start investigating the man, it's still another reliably wonderful chapter in the life of one of the country's best songwriters.
  10. Bogs down in stillborn ballads, vague metaphors, and fusty arrangements that sound too Olde English, even for him.
  11. Recording at home suits him. Even with the over-dubs, this set has the vitality of a live performance, and he clearly feels relaxed enough to take chances with the sometimes elaborate songs, delivering both the expected guitar skills and some fluid, difficult vocals.
  12. But cliché is not the only thing that mars “Thames” and other tunes... It’s the lethargy of the tempos, the navel-gazing compositional complexity, the empty flashiness of the acoustic-guitar runs and over-enunciated words.
  13. While lyrically his songs are top-drawer, Thompson's guitar prowess is also noteworthy. [13 Aug 2005]
  14. Song after song, this is hardly an album that boasts of its riches but, in a determinedly low-key fashion, the music asserts itself in honest textures captured in naked performance.
  15. This album is difficult, complicated, pretentious, infuriating, inconsistent, and asks more questions then it answers.
  16. Even when he turns down the volume, he never tones down the creative intensity.

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