Upper Air


Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. Upper Air is a comely album through and through, and certainly one of this year’s high-water marks for the acoustically inclined.
  2. Overall, you get the kind of lush musings that’ll soundtrack all the pivotal moments of your wayward summer romance. Blissful.
  3. Mojo
    Sparse backing, strings or a brimming organ interject occasionally, and enhance their combined voices on a brilliantly realised record. [Aug 2009, p.100]
  4. Uncut
    It shares Bon Iver's "For Emma, Forever Ago's" exquisite sense of existing in its own hermetically sealed world. [Aug 2009, p.87]
  5. Filter
    Here, every strain, key, and vocal is stirred up into a creaky, constanaut, clearly-defined symphony. [Summer 2009, p.98]
  6. There are times when Upper Air could be some clandestine jam session in the wilderness.
  7. I'm going to let the band off the hook for the holding pattern; in the meantime, we'll simply revel in the general loveliness of these 10 compositions, which utilize the debut's blueprints in the creation of sublime melodies, absorbing lyricism and delicate harmonic interplay.
  8. Those who weren't so sure about the Bowerbirds before might change their tune with this release--Upper Air is a luminous, wild-eyed affair, and a solid second album to boot.
  9. A stronger verse/chorus foundation might make the songs more instantly accessible and easier to remember. But by making it easier to access, Bowerbirds might well be depriving listeners of the chance to make their own way, to wander in the desert a little even.
  10. It might be a predictable record, but it’s an entrancing listen, an album that might coax Bowerbirds towards even bolder musical territory on their third release.
  11. Very, very few people have something clever to say and the musical ability to put it into song. That leaves us with ten pleasant songs about nothing much in particular, sung by vocalists of middling charisma.
  12. Upper Air does have its ethereal moments; mostly, though, its earnestness keeps it prosaically earthbound.
  13. Bowerbirds continue to show great potential, with some truly beautiful music along the way, but Upper Air’s most interesting tracks ('Bright Future' and 'Crooked Lust') are the ones that deviate from their core sound.
  14. Upper Air is a decent enough record, but it’s not strong enough to be listened to without recalling other, similar but better records.
  15. Q Magazine
    This record is like a pale version of their biggest fan in its shoe-shuffling awkwardness, and though each track sounds far too timid for single release, that is perhaps Upper Air's defining charm. [Aug 2009, p.103]
  16. Under The Radar
    The come off as Decemberists-light, and never find a spark. [Summer 2009, p.60]

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