Mo Beauty - Alec Ounsworth

Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. Mo Beauty is an album full of idiosyncrasies, but Ounsworth’s consummate eye to its construction turns dissonance into harmony.
  2. 78
    Supported by a new cast of musicians and soaking up the atmosphere, Ounsworth has crafted an album that transitions seemlessly from ballads to more frentic tracks with a straightforward sound that lets the songwriting and hooks resonate without being over-produced. [Fall 2009, p.100]
  3. The result of Ounsworth bottling this "flow" and working it into a set of songs is an album that showcases the breadth of his talents much more than the limited palettes of Flashy Python or CYHSY.
  4. There’s hardly any restraint, and the overload alternately thrills and frustrates. Sometimes it’s mesmerizing and profound. But sometimes it’s a bit too much.
  5. It’s a challenging, warm if understated effort destined to thunk into the indie solo album dartboard somewhere between Julian Casablancas and Duncan from Maximo Park.
  6. With help from seasoned pros, he’s delivering (to an extent) on the promise many saw in him after Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.
  7. The album is weighed down by too many slower-paced ballads, but on the whole Ounsworth's songwriting and singing abilities have mated with the New Orleans atmosphere to produce something special.
  8. 70
    Almost every tune on Mo Beauty equals or betters those on CYHSY's lauded 2005 debut.
  9. While not a notable departure from his day job Mo Beauty is still a southern-tinged party worth paying a visit. [Fall 2009, p.59]
  10. The result is baroque stuff that shows off Ounsworth's distinct David Byrne-in-the-ER whine, and it keeps moving forward.
  11. 60
    With the group of temporary hiatus, Ounsworth spreads his wings here, delivering a solo set that combines his gift for melody with more adventurous instrumentation and stylistic detours, waltzing between deft piano balladry (Holy, Holy, Holy Moses), high-drama orchestral-pop (That Is Not My Home), and lilting, horn-bolstered calypsos (South Philadelphia Drug Days) with grace, confidence and wit. [Jan 2010, p. 90]
  12. 60
    His attempts to capture some of that city's pre-Katrina musical spark are satisfying, in parts - as well as recruiting former Meters bassist George Porter Jr to help out, tracks like "idiots In The Rain" capture the clatter of Bourbons St. However, Ounsworth's nasal vocals might still be an acquired taste for some. [Jan 2010, p. 116]
  13. After all the hype has leaked away, we’re back to a simple idea: a guy with a solid backing band, some nice ideas, and a voice that you’re going to hate or love.
  14. Mo Beauty becomes difficult to wade through as Ounsworth ventures further from his indie-rock roots. [Nov 2009, p.114]

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