Smother - Wild Beasts
Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. May 9, 2011
    100
    They are, right now, the most inspirational, intriguing, effortlessly enrapturing band at work on these shores. And Smother might well prove to be the album of 2011.
  2. May 19, 2011
    90
    After you let it seep its way into your daily life, Smother reveals itself as the type of masterwork so fragile and unobtrusive as to leave itself vulnerable to being brushed away by those listeners without patience. Don't let yourself be among them.
  3. May 12, 2011
    90
    Overall, Smother is brilliant, and a record by a band with a big brain, a generous heart, hungry ears and a permanent erection.
  4. The Cumbrian quartet haven't fumbled the ball with the follow-up. Smother, recorded in the shadow of Snowdonia, tinkles and twinkles like the classiest adult-alternative pop of the 1980s.
  5. Smother is deeply sad and lonely, but still a barbed invitation to intimacy; like Coleridge's albatross, an extraordinarily elegant, stunning, (near)-perfect portrait of how terribly bad decisions can turn out.
  6. May 9, 2011
    90
    While it stands apart, this is an evolution that will please both Wild Beasts' early adopters and the many converts that will surely follow from what is, without doubt, one of the stand out releases of the year.
  7. May 9, 2011
    90
    It'd be reductive to try and describe a timeless album like Smother as a step up from its two predecessors, or even as a surefire Mercury contender--although it is, on both counts.
  8. May 9, 2011
    90
    Smother does exactly what it suggests but with a poetic fragility and an exacting panache that enthrals and entices like never before. An essential album.
  9. May 9, 2011
    90
    Wild Beasts continue to find finer ways of expressing themselves while still holding onto the primal passion they've always had, and Smother is some of their most accessible yet creative work.
  10. May 13, 2011
    82
    Wild Beasts have remained an act with no intention of blending in. Smother, their third full-length, is just as the above quote promises: completely uncompromising. And that's why it succeeds.
  11. Jun 10, 2011
    81
    Poised as hyper-indulgent fellas, Smother is a startlingly controlled album, one that's exactly as smooth and smoldering as its moniker posits.
  12. Aug 1, 2011
    80
    It's hard to argue with the result anyway: Its slow build and aching vocals stand out as a purposeful moment of perfection on a record chock full of them.
  13. May 31, 2011
    80
    In every way, it's alive, but mostly, it's alive with possibility. [Jun 2011, p.112]
  14. May 16, 2011
    80
    Smother sees this singular and intriguing group still on the ascendant--limiting notions of normal music notwithstanding. [Jun 2011, p.92]
  15. 80
    The ultimate beauty of Smother, though, comes from its subtlety as Wild Beasts continue to transcend conventional pop music with yet another great addition to their catalog.
  16. May 13, 2011
    80
    It is not only Wild Beats' finest album to date, but one of the best you're likely to hear all year. [Jun 2011, p.90]
  17. 80
    In songs suffused with need and vulnerability, the music leaves itself open, waiting to be approached.
  18. May 9, 2011
    80
    Smother isn't conventional chart material, but will make their burgeoning cult impossible to ignore.
  19. 80
    Overall, Smother finds Wild Beasts hurdling that difficult third album with some aplomb.
  20. May 9, 2011
    80
    Smother is an exercise in moderation, trying to find the precise balance between audacious beauty and emotional intelligence. The depraved encounters it presents are brash, risky, and just like its characters, always on the verge of imploding.
  21. Sep 12, 2011
    78
    Smother, roiling in passion often disorienting in its envelopment, is difficult to penetrate, but there is ecstasy in the succumbing.
  22. May 11, 2011
    76
    Wild Beasts' Hayden Thorpe emotes like the forsaken son of Elbow's Guy Garvey and Antony. Thankfully, over the course of Smother, the English quartet proves they have the muscle to back up their lead singer's melodramatic warble.
  23. Smother may lack the proper drive of Two Dancers, but it succeeds in whittling down what has become Wild Beasts' motif.
  24. 70
    Although Smother isn't as suffocating as perhaps it should be, it's still an interesting venture for Wild Beasts to have taken and definitely, a worthy follow-up to Two Dancers. And so while there isn't anything as wildly inventive as maybe "Hooting & Howling" anywhere to be found, there is a great deal of lingering new sounds to get lost in.
  25. May 12, 2011
    70
    Surprisingly hot to the touch, Wild Beasts' third album does more with less, paring down the quartet's groove-inflected chamber pop to expose raw burning desire.
  26. May 12, 2011
    65
    Maybe it's because we've come to expect these guys to knock us out with each album, but Smother can't help but feel like a misstep.
  27. May 16, 2011
    60
    As Wild Beasts records tend to go, Smother is par for the course in terms of its opulent eccentricities and its magnificently polished arrangements. This time around, though, the Beasts have been tamed. Frankly, that's a disappointment.
  28. May 16, 2011
    50
    Overall, Smother seems to be missing purpose. I hear those careful ruminations on relationships, and I hear the pain that evidently went into this, but it leaves me cold.
User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 68 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. May 14, 2011
    10
    I wasn't too excited when the first single Albatross came out, but once I listened whole album I was amazed, this gem wrapped me instantly and once I listened I couldn't leave it. I'm a fan of this guys since limbo panto (rare and beautiful album, kinda underrated I think). Smother is an intimate album, stunning and beautiful from the first track 'lion's share' - hayden thorpe voice is really over the top in this album - to the glorious last track 'end come too soon'. I could say now that every single track is a highlight by itself, although my favorites are bed of nails and loop the loop. I don't think there would possibly be another release even close to this, best album of the year so far, these guys deserve all the recognition, wild beasts got me once again..I just wish I could see them live once. Full Review »
  2. Jun 11, 2011
    10
    Beautifully textures are just flowing through this album from start to end. Completely mesmerizing and entrancing melodies with lush instruments and vocals. If you are looking for an album to get you into 2011 mode, stop searching. Just stop. I've listened to a lot this year and this is just on another level. Don't think about it, just buy this. Make sure to listen to this album with a good reliable set of headphones that pick up the subtle background sounds. If you are a fan of artistic subtle well crafted music that comes together in gorgeous well polished melodies, it's hard to find better than this. Full Review »
  3. May 29, 2011
    10
    Amazing album. It took me a couple of listens to really appreciate it. I love it. This and Destroyers Kaputt are my Top 2 so far this year. It has a new edgy sound couple with great lyrics. Will be recognized as one of the Top 3 albums of 2011. Full Review »