The Family Afloat - Bound Stems
The Family Afloat Image
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 7 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 9 Ratings

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  • Summary: The Chicago-based indie rock band releases its second full-length album.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Most of the songs on The Family Afloat jump through their share of hooks and phases, few of which seem honed for maximum catchiness. Instead, they leave generous breathing room for Bobby Gallivan's free-associative, episodic lyrics.
  2. Whereas the last album came across like the more muddled and aimless moments of Fiery Furnaces or Frog Eyes/Wolf Parade songs (all bluster, arrangement - nothing memorable even if expertly played), this record comes across like the more finely tuned pop songs from any of the aforementioned groups.
  3. Bound Stems have the rarefied ability to make that mess sound gorgeous, as if all were in its right place even when it's held together by chewing gum in some spots.
  4. 70
    It’s a step forward for sure, though at times it reinforces the cloying feeling that the need to complicate rather than simplify makes for overwrought music. But you can’t blame a band for being thoughtful or for playing like something is at stake.
  5. 70
    The songs often end up miles away from where they started, but the characters and melodies persist.
  6. The Family Afloat reveals itself as a record that is promising, enchanting, and imbued with a wry optimism that at times is tangible.
  7. Bound Stems make it work for the most part, especially when the band recognizes the merits of orderly arrangement and the times when a simple, catchy melody will suffice. [Fall 2008, p.79]
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  2. Mixed: 0 out of
  3. Negative: 0 out of