• Record Label: Sub Pop
  • Release Date: Jun 22, 2004
Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. This isn't an edgy, experimental record. It instead explores human nature through conventional tonality and flow, delicately combining melancholy, detachment, and exhilaration.
  2. 100
    LaValle demonstrates that he is one of post-rock's strongest artists.
  3. Not only the best Album Leaf album to date but one of the best albums of the year.
  4. 80
    Drifts somewhere between Mogwai's softest moments and Her Space Holiday's wry prettiness. [Aug 2004, p.101]
  5. The album is stitched together so finely, the songs hardly distinguish themselves from the overall pace, which is slow and summery, and the constructions, which vary between listless nowheresville ambience and introverted pop melodies.
  6. A moody, yet seemingly sprawling album of (mostly) instrumentals that rely on the evolving crescendo to make a statement.
  7. This Icelandic association seems to have triggered a benign crisis in Jimmy Lavalle's composition gland and stimulated his transformation from a major key minor artist to a minor key major artist in the course of this one volume.
  8. Detractors will be sure to note that In a Safe Place can feel numbingly repetitive at moments, but all that expansive diddling contributes equally to the record's allure: Like rolling past the North Pole or through West Texas, this record plays with its own redundancies, building an entire universe from strange, barren pieces.
  9. An atmospheric slab of mostly instrumental keyboard-driven music that basically sounds like a further advanced version of what LaValle has been doing for some time now.
  10. 70
    The real beauty lies in how Iceland's dynamic conditions are mimed in minimalist clicks and cuts, and overlapping swashes of snapping drums, sparkling piano and acoustic guitar. [Jul/Aug 2004, p.124]
  11. It's wallpaper you'll be glad you bothered to hang. [Aug 2004, p.106]
  12. While not entirely successful throughout, it still contains enough majestic moments of sheer aural bliss to qualify as one of the most beautifully melodic down tempo-instrumental albums you are likely to hear this year.
  13. LaValle retains his heavily textural, impressionist flair, but has begun to repeat himself heavily, with none of the freshness or vigor of previous material.
  14. A night spent listing to In A Safe Place still begs one question--"Why didn't I just play Agaetis Byrjun instead?" [#7]
  15. 50
    The melancholia lacks distinguishing marks. [#64, p.80]
  16. Offers few intriguing instrumental twists and only the faintest percussive pulse. [Aug 2004, p.106]
  17. 40
    All tasteful minimalism and soft lighting, this is more Vangelis than adventurous. [Sep 2004, p.108]
User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 12
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 12
  3. Negative: 5 out of 12
  1. ChrisL
    Jul 25, 2005
    10
    What a phenominal CD. Everything about it is amazingly well put together. It begins and ends effortlessly and takes you for a ride that is so What a phenominal CD. Everything about it is amazingly well put together. It begins and ends effortlessly and takes you for a ride that is so celestial and strange that you'll want to come back again and again. I think of it as the moments after a night of partying before falling asleep and before waking up hung over. Full Review »
  2. Steve
    Jul 2, 2005
    10
    the more you listen the more you realize what an incredible album this is. Great to listen to before bed.
  3. Nick
    Apr 5, 2005
    9
    Atmospheric and incredible.