Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. Its persistent gloominess makes it a challenge to get through, but it was never intended to be just a simple alt-country album.
  2. Over the course of the record, the resonance of the melodies gradually overrides the initially distracting phrasing, revealing a sometimes exquisite folk-rock album.
  3. Arbouretum's songs are visceral and elemental, a loose-feeling mix of blues, folk, tribal beats, stoner rock and jam-based influences that belies the solid songwriting and musicianship at its core.
  4. 90
    You'd be right to uncover this one.
  5. The songwriting isn’t bad, by any means... But Heumann’s big-picture lyrics—faith, truth, etc.—are as ceaselessly heavy-handed as his guitar work, giving the whole of Rites an overwrought feel, one that can border on comical depending on your mood.
  6. The CD has a freewheeling, anything-can-happen feel to it; even after you’ve listened to it more than once, it seems that the guitar solos could head off into any number of directions.
  7. These songs are gorgeous and the band knows how to milk the beauty for all it's worth.
  8. Under The Radar
    The music provides the perfect complement to Heumann's haggard vocals. [#16, p.99]
  9. While production values throughout the record consistently exceed those on Long Live, the real step forward is where it counts: with the songs themselves.
  10. Uncut
    This wonderful record already feels like a cult classic. [Feb 2007, p.88]
  11. Q Magazine
    Not the easiest of listens. [Feb 2007, p.98]
  12. Magnet
    Strained, anachronistic verses may test your patience, but given what Arbouretum has to say when no one's singing, there's still a lot to uncover. [#74, p.90]

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