Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 20
  2. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. 90
    Weathered and intelligent, these songs resonate like folk antiquities from another age. Even more remarkably, they never sound forced. [Apr 2007, p.116]
  2. There's no sonic arsenal, nothing to make you sit and check your ears, just gentle, simple songs that sound like the laments of a sad generation.
  3. 80
    Its predominantly midtempo, cleverly crafted pop-Americana sounds even more substantial. [Apr 2007, p.97]
  4. With the lazy weariness of Tom Waits and the inflection of John Lennon, Mason makes every line he sings something worth listening to, something worth remembering. And when this is coupled with songs that can already stand strongly on their own, it makes for a pretty commanding album.
  5. Masterful and poignant, it reveals Mason to be a heavyweight talent. [Apr 2007, p.119]
  6. The songs aren't in a hurry to stray beyond mid-tempo and occasionally the production is stodgy... Ultimately though it is a beautiful melancholic album.
  7. One of the most downcast albums of 2007.
  8. These songs are more melodically direct, sonically dynamic and lyrically probing. [Apr 2007, p.60]
  9. Here, as on 2004's Where the Humans Eat, he posits himself as a man of the road whose sole possessions are a handful of albums, all of which were made in the mid-to-late Sixties. Pleasingly, however, he abides by his own rules.
  10. Mason displays promise, but with limited range vocally and echoes of Ben Harper, Los Lobos, and John Hiatt in his song-craft, he hasn't hit one squarely out of the park yet.
  11. If only because feeling sad isn't as good as feeling happy, this isn't as enjoyable as before.
  12. 60
    The problem is that all this pop-happy acoustic strumming lacks the awkward warble of Bright Eyes or the destructive heartbreak of Elliott Smith's music. [Mar 2007, p.101]
  13. 60
    His slumbery Jonathan Richman-meets-Beck vocals make every song a potential slacker lullaby. [Mar 2007, p.97]
  14. Without making the new sound genuinely old or the old sound refreshingly new, Mason waffles in the flux between.
  15. 56
    The traditional folk-rock methods begin to falter as the album wears on, leaving Mason's stirring tales of troubles and joys feeling rather one-dimensional. [#24, p.98]
  16. A safe, professional record that... just doesn't sound authentic in any way. [#16, p.93]
  17. The rough edges that made his first album endearing have been rubbed off and replaced with a handsome but generic finish.
  18. Such is the reliance on his voice to provide resonance both melodically and lyrically, there isn't a great deal else to fall back on should the listener find it objectionable.
  19. On his debut album... Mason's dour tendencies were neatly offset by his ramshackle musicianship, but here the rambunctious clatter gives way to a sound more smooth, adult and portentous
  20. It's plenty catchy and big, but it's also wildly uncreative and predictable.

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