Pentatonic Wars and Love Songs

  • Record Label: Telarc
  • Release Date: Jun 23, 2009

Generally favorable reviews - based on 8 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Its songs cast the universal emotion as gentle on the surface, with a riptide, and some bubble with quickening desire.
  5. 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.
  6. Mojo
    He manages to retain every essential element of blues tradition, sounding as basic as Hooker, yet at the same time probes ever forward into areas previously unexplored. [Sep 2009, p.96]
  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]
  8. 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.

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