I See The Sign - Sam Amidon
Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 12
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 12
  3. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. Dec 17, 2010
    90
    That's a big part of Sam's genius, the way he'll shift these songs around until, while you can still hear the original, they're reharmonized into something new and wonderful. He might not think of himself as much of a songwriter, but he's an often astounding melodicist.
  2. Amidon and his cabal of collaborators-- Nico Muhly, Ben Frost, Shahzad Ismaily-- have been merging chamber music with indie rock for awhile now (see also: Sufjan Stevens, Thomas Bartlett, Owen Pallett, Bryce and Aaron Dessner of the National), and their touch is nuanced and, on occasion, delightfully odd.
  3. 80
    Featuring gently swooning arrangements by Nico Mhly, four duets with Beth Orton, three nimble reworkings of children's singing games and an affectionate R Kelly cover, I See The Sign inhabits an enchanted universe, not a million miles from Sufjan Stevens' "Michigan." [May 2010, p.83]
  4. With Amidon's intimate, unshowy voice inderpinned nu melodic, folky guitars, minimal electronics and elegant strings of post-classical arranger Nico Mulhy, its ability to beguile is considerable. [May 2010, p. 112]
  5. Overall, this at-first-shy but eventually overpowering record will make yer cheeks sting with wine and late-night gales; and, as I've already said but feel sort of compelled to reiterate, it's so refreshing to hear.
  6. 80
    Sam Amidon works similarly quirky alchemy here [as Moby did a decade ago], reinventing public-domain songs (plus one modern-day ringer) as rustic mood music for watching distant super-novas explode.
  7. While I See the Sign might not quite measure up to the staggering "All Is Well," this is still a hell of an album. One that, like the songs that populate it, could resonate for a good long while.
  8. It takes a unique kind of ambition to produce something like I See the Sign, but the wonder isn't just that he does it, but that he does it so well.
  9. It sets up the tension between the often gentle voice and its malevolent surroundings, and this, his third collection of re-arranged traditionals, oscillates between the sweet and the almost apocalyptic, often to great success.
  10. I See the Sign is a seriously intelligent record, but never cute or overbearing; its Icelandic producer, Valgeir Sigurdsson, has left it dry and full of space, so that you hear the seams.
  11. There's a density to these tracks that belie the airy, simple nature they seem to suggest and it's this quality that gives them such life beyond the initial listens. Through his channeling of other artists imaginings, Sam Amidon is earning himself a place in the folk world that's genuinely his own.
  12. On I See the Sign, even the quietest moments sound bold.

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