Ghetto Bells

  • Record Label: New West
  • Release Date: Mar 22, 2005

Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. Uncut
    This sounds like the record Vic Chesnutt's been waiting his entire life to make. [Apr 2005, p.112]
  2. Chesnutt has rarely sounded better... expressing a full array of vivid and contrasting emotional states.
  3. Paste Magazine
    A particularly powerful collection from a consistently brilliant artist. [Apr/May 2005, p.128]
  4. Despite the talents of the musicians here, on several tracks the music simply lacks the physical strength to handle the lyrical weight of Chesnutt's material.
  5. More eclectic than most Chesnutt releases.
  6. Under The Radar
    An album arguably as strong as any in the Chesnutt canon. [#9]
  7. Mojo
    Frisell's braided guitar work creates a complex, nocturnal mood, while Parks' weeping accordion and sweeping string arrangements heighten the inherent drama. [May 2005, p.104]
  8. Songs like "Vesuvius"-- not to mention "Rambunctious Cloud" and "Gnats"-- have depth, a cagey charm, and an elusive mystery that demand not just repeated but aggressive listening. Chesnutt and his collaborators don't make that level of attention easy, but they do make it worthwhile.
  9. Q Magazine
    Sweet, subtle and quietly insidious. [May 2005, p.111]
  10. Entertainment Weekly
    Too bad Bells' laborious folk arrangements aren't as appetizing as the singer's weird words. [25 Mar 2005, p.73]
  11. Where Chesnutt has long been thought of as the banjo-on-his-knee godfather of freak-folk, this record shows his skewed vision is beginning to radiate far from its nearly-naked, southern gothic roots.
  12. Proves alluring even when the tunes are undercooked.
  13. Ghetto Bells finds Chesnutt running the gauntlet -- string-laden balladry, desert folk-rock, thumb-piano noodling.
  14. Spin
    His mildewy folk rock is dourly impenetrable. [Apr 2005, p.108]
User Score

No user score yet- Awaiting 1 more rating

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. BrandonM
    Jun 11, 2005
    An impressive and more focused follow-up to Silver Lake, Chesnutt give his listeners what they crave.
  2. WayneB
    Apr 23, 2005
    A most impressive follow-up to his New West debut, 2003's Silverlake. Van Dyke Parks string arrangements and Bill Frisell's "fret A most impressive follow-up to his New West debut, 2003's Silverlake. Van Dyke Parks string arrangements and Bill Frisell's "fret magic" seem to naturally compliment the songwriting on Vic's ninth release of his illustrious career... Full Review »