Player Piano - Memory Tapes
Metascore
67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Jul 6, 2011
    60
    Player Piano offers enough of Hawk's characteristically inventive sonic tinkering -- including, the title notwithstanding, an intriguing emphasis on organ sounds -- to merit repeated listens, even if these productions do sound worrisomely flat at times.
  2. Jul 7, 2011
    60
    Player Piano finds Hawk more concentrated and economical than ever. Unfortunately, it comes off more like complacency than conviction, that Hawk's either holding back on us, misreading his true strengths, not recognizing the need to rise to the occasion, or possibly all three.
  3. Aug 8, 2011
    60
    It's an album that sounds somehow both old and new, resembling Bibio and Yeasayer rewriting Brian Wilson's back catalogue. [Aug. 2011, p. 123]
  4. Jul 28, 2011
    80
    Hawk's followup hints at a talent that will outlive hipster buzz, drawing not just from hazy '80s nostalgia, but from the artists who populated his own youth. [Aug 2011, p.93]
  5. Dec 12, 2011
    60
    It's out with the neon-fugged, reverb-soaked beats of 2009's Seek Magic and in with straight-up, catchy tunes. [Aug. 2011, p. 100]
  6. Jul 6, 2011
    67
    There's a great follow-up to that album swirling somewhere inside Player Piano's grab-bag of ideas; it's just difficult to make out.
  7. Aug 5, 2011
    70
    Hawk has created 12 quietly engaging gems that ooze with the wavy sonic mystery of a collection of found-cassettes, and haunt the brain like a half-remembered dream. [Jul 2011, p.86]
  8. Jun 30, 2011
    70
    Hawk flits between moods with such frequency as to both delight and confound an audience split between enjoyment of his variety and desperation for Hawk to repeat the feat of the LP's finest moments.
  9. Jun 29, 2011
    70
    Player Piano's handcrafted tales of loneliness and bad romance draw quiet power from Hawk's charmingly reedy vocals, while the layered synths and other scruffy keyboards evoke subliminal longings and anxieties.
  10. Jul 6, 2011
    80
    Complex of subject matter and sound, Player Piano could have been weighed down by intricacy.
  11. Jul 28, 2011
    60
    Like the craft of the best tracks here, the album itself describes a smooth and clearly bookended parabola, an unexpectedly rainbow bridge, but one that, unlike the most well-known of these, is a pleasure, not a revelation.
  12. 70
    Summer needs a wistful, nostalgic soundtrack, and Player Piano has stepped in.
  13. Jul 8, 2011
    65
    This is a solid record, at times sparse and moody, at times lush and hopeful, but always chill. Very, very chill.
  14. Aug 22, 2011
    40
    The problem is the lack of hooks, atmospherics and soul.
  15. Jun 30, 2011
    60
    Player Piano is a musical jacket potato: satisfying but never amazing.
  16. 63
    The real weak link is Hawk's airy falsetto, which is too underwhelming for its own good. But give him a hairbrush, a mirror, and another couple of years and we'll see how it sounds then.
  17. Aug 3, 2011
    60
    The weakest element here is Hawks' voice. It's not distractingly bad, but at times it sounds like he's attempting to sing better than he may actually be capable of. But overall the effect is a good one.
  18. The songs are so masterfully constructed and the mood throughout so consistent that the key complaint must be that it has to inevitably come to an end; a sure-fire sign that an album is doing something right.

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