Metascore
64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. There's no arguing Putnam has a genuine talent for writing melodies and giving them shape in the studio, but he needs to add more colors to his palate if he expects people to come back to hear the same tale again and again.
  2. The songs work best when the record’s prevailing tone of opiated dreaminess is punctured with moments of unease: “All the birds are just chickens anyway / So we washed the blood from our hands.” Unfortunately, such moments are few.
  3. The "Americana" tag sticks thanks to the general country-rock tropes and all the natural imagery, but as usual the group excels at blurring the edges of an already blurry genre with spacey (but never indulgent) psych leanings, controls set for the heart of the sun but anchored comfortably down to earth.
  4. 60
    Putnam's songs still walk a fine line between brittle psychedelia and morosely tuneful pop. But there's a wrinkle in their textures, courtesy of a new rhythm section of bassist Be Hussey and drummer Stevie Treichel. [Jun 2010, p.97]
  5. 60
    Warm and hazy liek a day spent in teh summer sun, The Illustrated Garden is a sumptuous honey-hued helping of soft-souled pop, unhurried Americana and the occasional spry rush of pop. [June 2010, p. 99]
  6. The record spins the mood that Radar Bros. fans have come to expect: that feeling of being happily sunbaked and mildly delirious, subsisting on pure sensory intake.
  7. A new, punchier rhythm section augments frontman Jim Putnam's warm tenor here, wrapping itself around the fulsome piano and guitar arrangements like a tattered scarf. [Winter 2010, p.65]
  8. Putnam doesn't seem to be striving for something new, and if a new lineup isn't shaking up the formula, it’s likely that the music community shouldn't expect something new either.
  9. Sure, this record doesn't quite match their best work, on 2002's ...and the Surrounding Mountains, but it is just as strong as anything else in their discography.
  10. Mainly these songs remain steadfastly, quietly, emotional. For every moment that comes off too lightly, there’s an equal moment of memorable melody.

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