Bitter Tea Image
Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 50 Ratings

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  • Summary: The increasingly prolific brother-sister duo of Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger (this time, sans grandmother) return with their fourth album.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 30
  2. Negative: 2 out of 30
  1. Alternative Press
    100
    Despite the oddball showpieces, the Furnaces have refocused the lens on their homemade-pop kaleidoscope, and the result is a unversally resonant album that's not just more joyful than it's companion; it's also more essential. [Jul 2006, p.192]
  2. Despite the mismatches of mood and style, wistfulness accumulates throughout this album's 72 minutes; there's an intriguing inwardness at the heart of this most cultish of bands.
  3. Anyone who enjoyed having their brains and ears rearranged by Blueberry Boat and Rehearsing My Choir should find Bitter Tea enjoyable, but at this point, it seems like the most challenging thing the Fiery Furnaces could do is trust their pop instincts a little more often.
  4. It’s true that they could probably benefit from a stricter censorship of their own endless creativity, but Bitter Tea is an uncontrolled outpouring of musical concepts in every way, and you sense that the Friedbergers wanted this.
  5. Entertainment Weekly
    67
    Alternate[s] between childishly charming and plain irritating. [21 Apr 2006, p.73]
  6. Blender
    60
    The album's an impossible mess, but so lively that it's worth sifting through the shrapnel for the tasty bits. [May 2006, p.106]
  7. Less a rebound from the indulgent for-friends-and-family-only nightmare of Rehearsing My Choir than a lateral side-step, Bitter Tea sounds like a desperate plea to be labeled as "clever."

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 32
  2. Negative: 2 out of 32
  1. PaulJ
    Sep 7, 2006
    10
    Chewy and innovative musicianship combines with intelligent, thoughtful lyricism, to take your hand in theirs for a trip (in all good senses) Chewy and innovative musicianship combines with intelligent, thoughtful lyricism, to take your hand in theirs for a trip (in all good senses) into a private parallel world which provides much-needed disengagment therapy from the careworn workaday world. A musical highspot for 2006 Expand
  2. SpencerM
    Apr 19, 2006
    10
    Though their sophomore effort will remain my preference, Bitter Tea is the band's best. It takes from the mammoth studio effects of Though their sophomore effort will remain my preference, Bitter Tea is the band's best. It takes from the mammoth studio effects of Blueberry Boat, while telling stories as personal as Rehearsing My Choir. Nobody will really understand this band as well as their fans, which is expected, so I don't get aggitated by seeing less-than-enthusiastic reviews. I would ask that people try absorbing this album in full, and a few times at that. They will be immensely rewarded. Expand
  3. T.Spee
    Apr 17, 2006
    10
    Fundamentally perfect. These hoity-toity critics need to get their heads out of their asses and listen for once-----music doesn't need Fundamentally perfect. These hoity-toity critics need to get their heads out of their asses and listen for once-----music doesn't need to be instantly accessible to be good. Expand
  4. Austin
    Apr 23, 2006
    10
    I agree. This album is truly brilliant. I can't see how anyone who loves Blueberry Boat can detest this album... but yes, I too have to I agree. This album is truly brilliant. I can't see how anyone who loves Blueberry Boat can detest this album... but yes, I too have to speak out. Expand
  5. shirleyb
    Apr 23, 2006
    9
    surprised the critical score isnt higher. ive never been a huge FF fan but this album is both a creative accomplishment and more accessible & surprised the critical score isnt higher. ive never been a huge FF fan but this album is both a creative accomplishment and more accessible & catchy. not every song is great, but the ones that are great, really are. Expand
  6. JohnD
    May 20, 2006
    8
    Let's face it: every Fiery Furnaces album sounds terrible the first time you listen to it. After the first couple of times, it grows on Let's face it: every Fiery Furnaces album sounds terrible the first time you listen to it. After the first couple of times, it grows on you. (Except for 'Rehearsing', which everybody except Spin Magazine hated, but then again, they gave 'Registration' a B+ in its formal review and then proceeded to name it ALBUM OF THE YEAR, which is just stupid.) Don't put this on when you can't give 91% of your cencentration to the music. Expand
  7. EmmersonB
    Apr 18, 2006
    1
    drab, boring, incoherent. The cliches here are what you would expect: assigning "weird" as an indicator of quality.

See all 32 User Reviews