Manzanita Image
Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: The classically-trained, Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter returns with her rich and varied fifth full-length which, like her previous outing, finds her utilizing (at times) a backing band. Members of Beachwood Sparks, Dead Meadow and Brian Jonestown Massacre guest.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. 83
    Imagine Joni Mitchell if she'd made Miles after Mingus. [Feb 2005, p.92]
  2. Todd... smartly allows her soaring, angelic voice to take the lead, leaving the sparse arrangement of strings and keys to take a delicate backseat. This also means her lyricism, poignant and wry, stands out.
  3. Brings in a smoky mysticism and freeform beauty that recalls Nick Drake, Tim Buckley, and Joni Mitchell.
  4. The high points of the album are the tracks that feature Todd by herself either on guitar or piano, filling the song with the trembling strength of her singing.
  5. There is nothing but earnestness and obsession in her songs, which risk both clichés and awkwardness as they reach for honesty. [31 Jan 2005]
  6. One problem though: Mia peaks too soon. That opener is by far the strongest song. The rest is by turns meditative, breezy, intimate, and snoozy.
  7. 50
    It's nice that a singer/songwriter can fit comfortably on a label known for abstract techno and heady hip-hop. It's not so great when she sounds like Dido. [Apr 2005, p.109]

See all 12 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. BBlatt
    Mar 24, 2005
    9
    Brilliant work. Lyrically subtle, musically satisifying.Cohen, Mitchell and Janch.
  2. Jun 15, 2011
    7
    A welcome return after The Golden State's overly produced sound. If GS had any good outcome on Manzanita, it introduced a fuller of soundA welcome return after The Golden State's overly produced sound. If GS had any good outcome on Manzanita, it introduced a fuller of sound brought in from some of her touring band. There are still songs with just her and a piano or a guitar - which highlight her lyrical writing, but sons like "The Way," "Deep At Sea" and "What If We Do?" underscore the rich territory brought in from the new band sound. Building a career on austere songwriting, what's most surprising is the sense of humor or whimsy on Manzanita are the songs that I would have never guessed she would have done. Songs like "Casa Nova," and "Tongue-Tied" are welcome additions. Expand