Monsters Of Folk


Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 23
  2. Negative: 1 out of 23
  1. Monsters Of Folk is a real pleasure, full of songs that are loose, catchy and likeable.
  2. Traveling Wilburys-vibe results in an impressive coherence, and though they inhabit one another's songs expertly, these Monsters' genre-expanding combinations prove equally inspired.
  3. It's more jaunty nouveau Traveling Wilburys than folk rock summit as Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst, My Morning Jacket's Jim James and M Ward join forces.
  4. With all four players clearly bringing out the best in each other, one hopes that Monsters of Folk makes for more than just a one-off side project.
  5. A mammoth 15-song package, MoF--despite occasional moments of country chugging--showcases the best of the four men's talents and influences.
  6. It would be hard to listen to Monsters of Folk and not hear a gorgeous album.
  7. It is because of this collaborative rejuvenation that Monsters Of Folk is a worthwhile endeavour, a stirring album and an outfit that is as nourishing for its constituent members as they are for it.
  8. Alternative Press
    When the music these guys create individually is already so great, why would anyone mind having it mixed together? [Oct 2009, p.106]
  9. Q Magazine
    Monsters Of Folk haven't quite produced the great American record the title promises, but they're a pretty super group all the same. [Oct 2009, p.109]
  10. Uncut
    Monsters Of Folk ends as captiatingly as it starts. [Oct 2009, p.99]
  11. Everyone shines--although James, whose lead vocals open and close the set, beams brightest, the eclecticism of My Morning Jacket's 2008 opus, Evil Urges, brought into sharper focus by the company. Sometimes too many cooks are precisely enough.
  12. Mojo
    This record is way better than we had any right to expect. [Oct 2009, p.99]
    At times, it's difficult to differentiate who is singing, thanks to masterful producing by Bright Eyes' Mogis. When viewed less as a hipster supergroup and more as an old-fashioned song swap, Monsters of Folk live up to their hype and then some.
  14. The players on Monsters of Folk complement each other extremely well. There is definitely something to be said for group chemistry. These songs don’t always shine the way they could, but the album is a great effort.
  15. Spread over 15 tracks, the combination wears thin at several points, and several songs feel more like their creator's solo work than a composite product. Monsters of Folk has moments on undeniable beauty, though, and when the musicians pitch their voices atop one another--as they do to notable effect on the gorgeous "Slow Down Jo"-the benefits of teamwork are more than clear.
  16. 70
    This is not the story of lost faith that these thematic bookends seem to augur, but rather just a bunch of really good songs that have relatively little to do with each other.
  17. Overall, there's a natural interplay between the players, and it lends the album a relaxed, easy-going vibe.
  18. With only a couple of real missteps--that could have been eliminated by a less democratic division of songwriting labour to cut the tracklisting to a tighter 12 or 13 cuts--this first (and hopefully not last) Monsters Of Folk release happily proves that super-groups can be greater than the sum of individual parts, when kinship overrules narcissism.
  19. Under The Radar
    While each has expanded his sonic palette, they have all matured as songwriters and lyricists, and working togther showcase that maturity. [Fall 2009, p.59]
  20. Rather than make a staid, serious statement album, the foursome keeps things loose and low-key, content to sound like postmillennial Traveling Wilburys but generally just being themselves.
  21. The opener is as intriguing as it is unexpected. It's just too bad, then, that the rest of the album continues to ask similar questions, but never again with the same vigor or innovation.
  22. It’s a counterfactual, of course, but I’ve got to think that Monsters of Folk circa 2005 would have come up with something a bit more substantive than this.
  23. There’s no sense of cohesion or flow between any of these songs, partially due to a clear lack of thought devoted to these conceits, but mostly because every M. Ward- and Conor Oberst-penned song sounds the same lately.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 38 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 22
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 22
  3. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Aug 6, 2011
    I wouldn't say its each songwriter's best material, but its a wonderful contribution. I'd say Conor Oberst makes the biggest splashes here.I wouldn't say its each songwriter's best material, but its a wonderful contribution. I'd say Conor Oberst makes the biggest splashes here. "Map of the World" ranks among his best with Bright Eyes and solo. Full Review »
  2. Jan 8, 2011
    Such a great album that dawns on you with each more listen. Monsters Of Folk debut has very catchy songs and the lyrics are golden. This folkSuch a great album that dawns on you with each more listen. Monsters Of Folk debut has very catchy songs and the lyrics are golden. This folk supergroup is utterly amazing and it's the perfect four artists to collaborate. The Opener "Dear God" is a strange, soulful jam that stays in your head. This album is filled with great tracks. All In All, Monsters Of Folk are a great collaboration and it really shows in this album. A- Full Review »
  3. KathyF.
    Feb 3, 2010
    Listen to it a lot! Gets deeper with each listen! Cranky!