Tanglewood Numbers - Silver Jews

Universal acclaim - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. 91
    Tanglewood roars back to life with a massive band, a detailed sound, and a voice that sounds ravaged but right. [Oct 2005, p.142]
  2. 90
    A surreal, tender, revealing record. [Nov 2005, p.104]
  3. A uniquely powerful and moving set of songs.
  4. [It] turns out to be a proper Silver Jews rock album, which is to say it has the feel of a drunk snapping into his second wind long enough to belt out a few.
  5. Berman's most accomplished album.
  6. A record that is wholly satisfying: not too overwrought and never self-assuredly slick.
  7. What may be the most confident and cohesive Silver Jews album yet is shot through with urgency and gravitas, but tempered, of course, with liberal doses of dark humor.
  8. One of his strongest and most focused albums to date.
  9. 86
    Tanglewood Numbers probably won't win many new fans, but it will make the cult of David grow fonder. [#17, p.104]
  10. David Berman joins a pickup band that includes his close personal friend Stephen Malkmus to explore realms of vocal inexpressiveness undreamt by Stephin Merritt or the Handsome Family.
  11. 10 charming ditties about depression. [28 Oct 2005, p.84]
  12. 80
    A timely reminder of how speculative and exciting American alternative rock was before it discovered Duran Duran and money. [Nov 2005, p.100]
  13. Tanglewood Numbers, musically at least, is Berman's most fully realized album.
  14. The fullest sounding Silver Jews album to date. [Nov 2005, p.210]
  15. If there are any complaints, it’s that the arrangements are so elaborate they distract from Berman’s droll verse, but for anyone who’s wondered what Berman might sound like working with a full sonic palette, Tanglewood Numbers provides a definitive, satisfying answer.
  16. 80
    What's missing most will probably not be missed at all: Berman's tendency to sound slack, sluggish and a bit lackluster. [#69, p.109]
  17. The more I listened to Tanglewood Numbers, the more I liked it.
  18. Tanglewood Numbers' hummable songs and often-arresting lyrics are impressive, but Berman would be nowhere without a little help from his many friends.
  19. Even if it's not their finest work, it certainly feels like it is. There is a visceral vitality to Tanglewood Numbers that has never inhabited any album prior.
  20. Where 2001's Bright Flight leaned into full-bore country, emphasizing Berman's voice and lyrical content, Tanglewood Numbers is a band-oriented rock record-- crashing, amped-up, aggressively ramshackle.
  21. A languid yet invigorating shrine to indie-pop, Americana, and nudie shirt psychedelia that electrifies the blood and squeegees the mind.
  22. Musically, he’s ditched the clean, plainly instrumented indie-country schlep of his previous efforts for something brassy, something downright soulful.
  23. A rhinestone-tipped treat. [22 Oct 2005, p.41]
  24. Soulful, synth-colored Americana.
  25. Weird, and often wonderful. [22 Oct 2005]
  26. Tanglewood Numbers isn't the front-to-back triumph it might've been... but it's a welcome return nonetheless for a straight face that looks unlike any other.
  27. A series of relatively straightforward tunes, the better to show off the relatively crooked lyrics for which he's known. [17 Oct 2005]
  28. 60
    The first and less snarky half of Tanglewood Numbers... is some of the liveliest music Berman has recorded. [Nov 2005, p.140]
  29. Ultimately, Tanglewood Numbers is a pretty good record for the Silver Jews and a very good record if you like chimey, talky, uncool indie rock.
  30. Sadly, Tanglewood Numbers just doesn’t sport enough memorable Bermanisms to make it a truly satisfying Silver Jews album.
  31. The songs don't have much teeth in the way of hooks or vigor. [#11, p.108]
  32. If another band were to serve up the fiddling strings and lollygagging vocal harmonies of “Animal Shapes,” the wanky guitar breakdowns of “The Poor, The Fair, and the Good,” perhaps Tanglewood Numbers wouldn’t feel like such a disappointment. But Berman’s a brilliant lyricist with 30 or 40 minutes to spare every couple of years, and his voice seems oddly absent from this record.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 22 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 14
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 14
  3. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. romanmc
    Feb 27, 2006
    You will not be dissapointed. Berman flat-out embarrasses anyone else out there trying to compete with him in lyrical craft. The music is varied on this outing as well. A much fuller pallete than other albums. Full Review »
  2. KrisB
    Feb 9, 2006
    It's no American Water, but it'll do. Something is missing this time around, and i think it's probably because of the absence of Steven Malkmus. Full Review »
  3. timothym
    Jan 29, 2006
    dc is my hero