Sugaring Season - Beth Orton
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. Oct 1, 2012
    80
    Sugaring Season is sophisticated, mature, and rife with quiet passion.
  2. Oct 4, 2012
    60
    Even though Sugaring Season has a quiet, contemplative feel to it, the album's surprisingly full sound sneaks up on you, revealing a richness that doesn't have to fall back on synthetic rhythms or production tricks for texture and depth.
  3. Oct 4, 2012
    60
    While the whole album can't quite sustain the easygoing thrills of its high points, going out with less of a bang and more of a whimper, Sugaring Season still makes a good case that it's better late than never that Orton is finding her own vision as an artist.
  4. Oct 3, 2012
    77
    There are no unexpected detours or superfluous tangents, just 10 songs of sweet resilience delivered by a voice of seemingly effortless expression.
  5. Oct 22, 2012
    80
    This folk-rooted album is ideal for listeners who think they're tired of folk music. [Nov 2012, p.94]
  6. Oct 26, 2012
    80
    Orton remains a luminous presence among often monotone peers. [Dec 2012, p.75]
  7. Oct 22, 2012
    80
    Even in Beth's comfort zone, her acoustic band, produced by Tucker Martine, enrich some beguiling songs, with not a dud among them. [Nov 2012, p.90]
  8. Oct 2, 2012
    60
    There is something elemental about Orton's folk soul; at its best, it sounds like the world's prettiest campfire music, all hickory smoke swirling into a starlit sky.
  9. Oct 2, 2012
    58
    Without a steady beat to ground it, Orton's music tends to float into the ether. And unfortunately in the case of Sugaring Season, this means many of the album's best, moving moments fade into the background.
  10. Sep 27, 2012
    70
    Although not all cowboy-ready, the album is steeped in country vibes. This style lends itself to the vulnerable nature of Season, a strong return for Orton. [Aug/Sep 2012, p.113]
  11. Nov 21, 2012
    80
    A great comeback from an artist who's been away for far too long.
  12. Sep 27, 2012
    70
    On Sugaring Season she captures both the melancholy and the confidence that comes with growing older really rather well.
  13. Sep 27, 2012
    80
    The result is a fresh, autumnal album that's unashamedly mature yet impressively free.
  14. Oct 2, 2012
    85
    Blessed with great songs, wonderful arrangements and vocal performances that seriously raise the bar in our expectations of what she's capable of, it is a record that shows real artistic growth in every area and is destined to become a classic that rivals Trailer Park and Central Reservation.
  15. 80
    One of the strengths of this album is how Orton alternates moods while maintaining a sense of pace.
  16. Oct 8, 2012
    70
    The album slows to a crawl in its latter half, and that sense of lethargy ultimately detracts from the things Orton gets really right throughout.
  17. Sep 27, 2012
    70
    This delicacy was always the logical progression, and fans growing with Orton will find much to love about Sugaring Season.
  18. Oct 12, 2012
    64
    [Thought there are] a few sweet moments on Sugaring Season--especially melancholic, piano-driven "Last Leaves of Autumn--it all feels a bit saccharine.
  19. Oct 3, 2012
    70
    The warmest songs are the least compelling, but in their way, they strengthen Sugaring Season for varying up the tone.
  20. Oct 10, 2012
    80
    Sugaring Season isn't a breakthrough, but it's a consolidation of Orton's strengths. [#92, p.58]
  21. Oct 3, 2012
    80
    Album number five, Sugaring Season, is her purest work yet, stripped right down to the bare essentials and, as a result, it fits perfectly on an English folk timeline.
  22. Oct 11, 2012
    80
    It's charming in every way, but still rooted in the pop folk that brought Beth to us in the first place.
  23. Nov 21, 2012
    70
    The constant shifts in tone and temperament ultimately affirm Orton's unpredictable instincts, and give Sugaring Season a sweeter appeal.
  24. Oct 1, 2012
    80
    This is a seductive if not immediately obvious piece of work, her adventures into folky-jazz work well, never straying too far from pleasing familiarity into all-out experimentalism.
  25. More important on first contact, anyway, is the feel of the music, which grooves. Really good.
  26. 60
    Her wisp of a voice has found more weight and with it more feeling.
  27. 80
    Despite a half decade of keeping relatively quiet, Orton has emerged with a fresh approach, and a batch of songs both intricately gorgeous and, more importantly, a hearty distance from familiar.
  28. Sep 28, 2012
    80
    She's continued to move away from electronica, but these rich, emotionally sophisticated songs (which will appeal to Cat Power fans) still have a strong rhythmic core.
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 4 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Dec 19, 2012
    9
    I tend to review only albums that reward repeat listening. This one qualifies. I gave 7 cuts a 4-star rating, and some of these could grow to a 5-star with more listens. (A 3-star and below rating is a track that is easily forgettable) The mellow tracks are so tasty -- I try to make time to repeat them. All the stand outs are: Dawn Chorus, Call Me The Breeze, See Through The Blue, Magpie, Last Leaves of Autumn, State of Grace. Perfect morning music, or when you want to chill out sitting along the water's edge soaking up the autumn sun.... Full Review »
  2. Dec 16, 2012
    9
    If Beth Orton flirted with Electronica and Alternative-Folk on her previous albums, she now left out the Electronica sound and centered her on a Folk atmosphere. It sounds cliché to say an artist has a much mature sound but it's true, she does have a mature sounding on "Sugaring Season" album. It feels like like listening to 2012 English sounding Joni Mitchell. Her melodies are beautiful and catchy without being sugary. This album simply got in my top 5 2012 album of the year and is by far, my favorite Beth Orton album. If you like Folk music...just a little...you got to listen to this! Full Review »