Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. May 2, 2012
    88
    Nootropics, the latest record from Baltimore quintet Lower Dens, connects layered loops and trippy chants with catchy rock 'n' roll arrangements, delivering a pure punch of sonic bliss.
  2. Apr 27, 2012
    88
    The dreamwave immersion and haunting power of Hunter's vocals invite comparisons to fellow Baltimore mood-wizards Beach House, but whereas Teen Dream aimed for beauty even at its darkest, Lower Dens keeps things weird.
  3. May 1, 2012
    82
    This is one of those albums that creates its own little sound world, and a lot of its appeal has to do with qualities like texture and atmosphere.
  4. Jul 18, 2012
    80
    You're left with the impression that Lower Dens are both big sounding and very clever. [Jun 2012, p.85]
  5. Jul 12, 2012
    80
    A few, like Lion In Winter Pt. 1 and 12-minute closer In The Beginning Is The End, test your patience, while others, like Nova Anthem and Lamb, become so surprisingly transcendent that they vanquish any and all tedium.
  6. May 30, 2012
    80
    It is a delicate alchemy of tight metronomic grooves and carefully parsed instrumental interplay, to the point where nothing steals the show.
  7. May 8, 2012
    80
    Sometimes trance-inducing, sometimes wildly dynamic, the album is a sumptuous, woozy feast that proudly dances on the lines between nirvana and reality.
  8. May 2, 2012
    80
    Nootropics is a slow burn that lingers long. [May 2012, p.78]
  9. May 2, 2012
    80
    Despite the lack of direct emotional content in the shrouded lyrics, the music has an ache to it, a yearning that suggests a desire to connect but an inability to make a connection.
  10. 80
    The panicked sensation of Nootropics gives way to catharsis as the surrealism intensifies to the point at which change is inevitable.
  11. Apr 30, 2012
    80
    The end result is an intriguing, ambitious set of songs that reward those who opt for full immersion, rather than cherry-picking tracks, with each listen.
  12. Apr 27, 2012
    80
    Their minimalist throb is challenging at first, yet allowing the likes of 'Brains' and 'Propagation' to seep in is to be submerged in an invigoratingly ballsy album.
  13. Apr 27, 2012
    80
    Its refined edges, percussion heavy sounds and understated opulence find the band's sonic landscape revitalised.
  14. Apr 27, 2012
    80
    Nootropics is so mired in restraint it will fail to grab many ears on the first go-round. However, once listeners get their heads around the sound, it's a definite on-repeat player.
  15. Apr 27, 2012
    80
    If you're willing to put the effort in, then you will be rewarded with an achingly beautiful and immersive album.
  16. May 21, 2012
    79
    A welcome new start for this talented band.
  17. It not so much a record that juxtaposes itself, but rather one that sways between the two sides of whatever spectrum you put it in.
  18. May 1, 2012
    75
    As a breathtaking study in grayscale minimalism, Nootropics is exquisite. But it dissipates the instant it touches air.
  19. May 9, 2012
    74
    Largely favoring grayscale tones and sedated sentiment, Lower Dens' highs achieve with an understated ability to evoke emotion.
  20. May 10, 2012
    70
    Weirder is better with this crew; witness the 12-minute apocalyptic dub incantation "In The End Is The Beginning," which locates sublime power in its spacey pessimism.
  21. May 3, 2012
    70
    These are sleek soothing balms sombrely and meticulously crafted to usher the listener in.
  22. May 1, 2012
    70
    The disc turns more experimental as it progresses.
  23. May 1, 2012
    70
    What's missing is the meditative joy they achieved in their rockier moments.
  24. Apr 30, 2012
    70
    It's undoubtedly complex, awkward and occasionally without direction, but it also produces moments of astonishing splendour, each with the capacity to bring neck hairs bristling to attention.
  25. Jun 20, 2012
    60
    It's the vocals of Jana Hunter, an apprentice of freak folk luminary Devendra Banhart, that provides Nootropics' bewitching focal point, the group's gothic meld of gliding guitars and spectral synth noises resembling the Cocteau Twins on a comedown. [Jun 2012, p.107]
User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 19 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. May 3, 2012
    10
    This album is a beauty! I get the Beach House and Radiohead comparisons but you can get so much more out of this if you give it a chance. IThis album is a beauty! I get the Beach House and Radiohead comparisons but you can get so much more out of this if you give it a chance. I didn't enjoy the Twin-Hand Movement on first listen but eventually came to love it. Nootropics brings you into a whole different world. I wasn't blown away on first listen but I knew I was listening to something special but I could not pin it down. The more listens you give this baby the more beauty it reveals. Fantastic record! Full Review »
  2. Jun 14, 2012
    9
    This one of the best of the year so far....with many of the ethereal end of post punk references (early 80's Cocteau Twins, the Cure,This one of the best of the year so far....with many of the ethereal end of post punk references (early 80's Cocteau Twins, the Cure, Breathless, etc.) mixed with contemporary sensibilities, it shines. Full Review »
  3. Jul 10, 2012
    9
    This album is like a Beach House album, but it's "weird" and I like it better. There was something too pretty about Beach house. Lower DEnsThis album is like a Beach House album, but it's "weird" and I like it better. There was something too pretty about Beach house. Lower DEns adds more gothic beauty in their music (and being a goth a decade ago that means a lot). Overall, this album is a strange trip, but one worth taking if you have the guts to do so. Full Review »