Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 15
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 15
  3. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. This music is the electronic, Warp-inspired answer to Brian Wilson's 'Smile.' [31 Jul 2004, p.41]
  2. An astoundingly accomplished collection of flawlessly interesting and compulsively beautiful songs. [#8, p.109]
  3. 90
    An outstanding record which you'd be unwise to miss. [Aug 2004, p.91]
  4. The disc alternates between unsettling, exhilarating, and devastating in its emotional impact; it's also difficult not to get distracted by everything going on musically.
  5. 80
    A band who aim foolishly high but always return, wings intact. [Sep 2004, p.92]
  6. A work of baroque detail, crossing between Mercury Rev's psychedelic Americana and The Beta Band's bucolic electronica. [Aug 2004, p.110]
  7. The Earlies are like a stripped-down take on the [Flaming] Lips: psychedelic, lo-fi and indie in the purest sense of the word.
  8. What's impressive is the way they bring all these elements together, the natural world leading seamlessly into a brighter landscape of surreal otherness.
  9. Given that it’s a collection of EPs and singles, These Were the Earlies is predictably all over the map, a problem exacerbated by the Earlies’ wide-ranging stylistic ambitions and long-distance collaborative methods.
  10. A deliriously ambitious record packed with neo-psych lullabies and swooning choruses.
  11. The album still holds together with a surprising cohesiveness, which is essential when crafting a debut that relies far more on the effect of its ambitious whole than any specific genre-bending tracks.
  12. A set of saccharine sweet songs which occasionally dissolve spectacularly in a haze of whirring electronic mist.
  13. As a headphone album, 'These Were... The Earlies' is something of a stunner.
  14. Imagin[e] the Beach Boys getting strung out in a field on cider midmorning in some alternative universe Texas, surrounded by retro-sounding DIY synths, a raggedy brass section, and a hippy cello player.
  15. It's not half-bad, providing you can get over the fact that the Earlies have yet to find a sound to call their own.

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