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User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3

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  1. RambunctiousLumberjack
    Jan 8, 2005
    6
    I fell in love with Califone's two previous albums, Roomsound and Quicksand/Cradlesnakes. The combination of junk percussion, buzzing strings, and unique instrumentation created a splendid wilderness of music. This record is different. The first five songs are similar to their previous works but more subdued, and more importantly, with weaker songwriting. "Trick Bird" approaches the I fell in love with Califone's two previous albums, Roomsound and Quicksand/Cradlesnakes. The combination of junk percussion, buzzing strings, and unique instrumentation created a splendid wilderness of music. This record is different. The first five songs are similar to their previous works but more subdued, and more importantly, with weaker songwriting. "Trick Bird" approaches the quality of their previous work, the others just seem to drift by without making any impression on the listener. The last two songs are unlike anything Califone has done. "2 Sisters Drunk On Each Other" is a delectable piece that defies accurate description, though there is a definite element of funk there. The final song "Heron King Blues" is crap. I'm all for sonic experimentation, but there has to be some semblance of a song there for anyone to derive any pleasure from it. It's over 14 minutes long, and no one should waste their time listening to it 7 times like I did to see if something good would jump out at me. All in all a disappointing album from a band that has given us so much. Here's hoping lead man Tim Rutili will remember to write some songs before he releases the next Califone album. Collapse
  2. Andy
    Jan 30, 2004
    9
    Pretty awesome on a whole! It does lack the Michigan Girls and Stepdaughter-type pieces of Cradlesnakes, but it definately worth the listen. It will translate well live, as the songs have more space for jamming and rockin'. As with any Califone record, it will take a listen or two to understand what is all going on. Excellent record!
Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. [A] hapless, semi-comatose new record that should have started with the last two tracks, while the rest of the album should have been scrapped.
  2. The music is mysterious and moody, with an unusual blend of instruments and lyrics full of strange imagery, but no real narrative.
  3. 50
    Keeps an unsteady path between fine altered-state atmospherica and irritating cosmic twittering. [Feb 2004, p.100]