Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Things bog down a bit toward the end with the droning “Tomorrow Never Knows” homage of “Lost In My Infinite Memory” and the plodding title track, but the album still is a quick, concise listen, and may actually serve--after nearly 30 years--as this American original’s most accessible yet.
  2. It's the extraordinary wealth of hooks that leave a lasting impression here: Is and Always Was is hugely fun and endlessly listenable.
  3. Is And Always Was is an energetic, accessible album, and while Johnston’s shaky, sluggishly lisped vocals haven’t changed, he uses them confidently.
  4. Johnston devotees will get a kick out of it, for sure--out of the successful merging of Johnston and a rich, full-band aesthetic, and just out of the sound of Johnston doing well and writing well, finally rocking out on the wide screen he's usually had to imagine.
  5. Johnston's craft as a vocalist can rise to the level of Falkner's well-crafted soundscapes, he's going to sound out of place on his own albums if he keeps making records like Is and Always Was.
  6. 70
    Often brilliant, occasionally creepy songs such as the bitter toe-tapper "Without You" and the optimistic six-minute epic "Light of Day" aren't appreciably improved by the trappings, but still cut deeply
  7. Falkner manages to set up a sort of production halfway house, which raises everything out of the bedroom, but still burrows deep to the tender core at the heart of Daniel’s songs.
  8. Revered outsider artist makes move on the mainstream.

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