Mentor Tormentor - Earlimart

Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 14
  2. Negative: 1 out of 14
  1. Mentor Tormentor is lovely in that it is a balanced album in terms of style and tone, never verging too far into the sickeningly sweet.
  2. There are still bands like Earlimart, quietly chugging away in Los Angeles and preserving the West Coast sound with a spirit that's more than just curatorial, as Mentor Tormentor elegantly shows.
  3. These days, the group creates reasonable facsimiles of utter tedium.
  4. Mentor Tormentor stands as a testament to Espinoza's growth and resilience. [Summer 2007, p.73]
  5. 70
    Bassist Ariana Murray steps up to provide sonic stability. [Sep 2007, p.129]
  6. In the mesmerizing, disturbing dream that is Mentor Tormentor, Espinoza and Murray wrap their sweetly uneasy voices around misty melodies, while the deceptively sophisticated production reinforces the sense of uncertainty.
  7. You'll find great boy-girl vocals, muted guitars and quiet but hooky pop.
  8. The album's midsection gets bogged down in songs that sound too similar: more lovely piano, more soft cooing, too many gimmicky studio effects.... To Espinoza's credit, he gets Mentor Tormentor back on track.
  9. Newcomers to Earlimart will surely be lured in by Mentor Tormentor's seductive and, yes, absolutely frickin' beautiful sound, while longtime fans, depending on their expectations, will either passively embrace the familiarity or pine for some new ideas.
  10. 'Cold Cold Heaven,' the 15th--and last and best--track on "Mentor Tormentor is the kind of cozy hymnal Earlimart does best: a wash of strings, the major-key wail.
  11. 60
    Mentor Tormentor may be Earlmart's best album. But it still falls short of greatness, hamstrung by songwriting and production moves that have clearly become the band's comfort zone. [Fall 2007, p.93]
  12. Props for being candidly happier, but as is often the case with bands with ten-plus-years of solid material, Earlimart’s newest release serves us better as an unwitting PR campaign for the rest of their oeuvre.
  13. Murray and co-founder Aaron Espinoza celebrate romance in tracks such as 'Answers and Questions,' but more affecting are such ruminations on vulnerability and heartbreak as the stark, propulsive 'Fakey Fake' and the electro-torchy 'Never Mind the Phone Calls.'
  14. Mentor Tormentor is an inviting listen; it is, among other things, an advanced course in baroque pop and a warm reminder of the thriving music scene in and around their renowned namesake town.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 6 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. RLB
    Sep 25, 2007
    Earlimart's a band that makes great records and puts on outstanding shows. Saw them open for Son Volt and became instantly hooked. Mentor is an enjoyable listen, especially for a crisp fall afternoon. Full Review »
  2. FrankL.
    Sep 10, 2007
    Excellent release!! Earlimart comes through again. I love every song on it. Met them at Joe's pub in the city, wonderful human beings and musicians. Full Review »
  3. JCC.
    Aug 29, 2007
    A silky smooth album with obvious nods to Elliott Smith and The Posies. A welcome return.