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Pentatonic Wars and Love Songs Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 8 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: The latest album for the blues artist includes Gary Moore and Jason Moran as guests.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Its songs cast the universal emotion as gentle on the surface, with a riptide, and some bubble with quickening desire.
  2. 80
    The follow-up to an album celebrating the African roots of the banjo, Pentatonic Wars is a sprawling folk and jazz set featuring everything from cornet to cello to djembe drums as backing for Taylor’s resilient rasp.
  3. Taylor’s tunes build and build like good dramas; he tells stories through song, and the music does the talking as much as the lyrics do.
  4. Sure, there are a few moments of eye-roll inducing sap (the piano solos, dripping with emotive syrup at either end of “I’m not mysterious”) but, overall, this collection of love songs keeps the touchy-feely at arm’s length and sparkles with emotional honesty.
  5. Pentatonic Wars and Love Songs ends up being an urgent, stubborn, and sometimes overly dark view of love in all of its unavoidable permutations. In other words, it's exactly the kind of album of love songs you'd expect from Taylor, one that is direct and as baffling as it is challenging.
  6. The last few years, he’s been expanding his sound, with mixed results. He hasn’t stumbled, but he hasn’t nailed it yet either. But Pentatonic Wars and Love Songs comes very close.
  7. Uncut
    The pulse of the blues still beats deep in his soul but the emphasis here is on Taylor's poetic sensibility on an emotionally charged set of songs loosely dealing with the darker side of the human heart. [Sep 2009, p.96]

See all 8 Critic Reviews