Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 12
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 12
  3. Negative: 0 out of 12
Buy On
  1. Magnet
    Aug 11, 2016
    90
    Although one of his most accessible, it's not constrained to formula. ... It was worth the wait. [No. 134, p.54]
  2. Uncut
    Aug 5, 2016
    90
    [A] splendid debut for Blue Note. ... Backed by a brilliant ensemble of strings, wind and percussion, Cline's guitar creeps stealthily through arrangements elegant and enigmatic, lush and low. [Sep 2016, p.71]
  3. Aug 5, 2016
    90
    It’s that sense of timelessness--and, yes, mood--that makes Lovers such an essential collection both for Nels Cline fans and anyone who believes in the beauty and power of jazz.
  4. Sep 7, 2016
    80
    This may be Cline's quietest recording, but it is one of his finest.
  5. 80
    Blending Cline originals and recent covers with reimagined standards by the likes of Jerome Kern and Rodgers & Hart, all realised in beautifully enigmatic arrangements which wrap woodwind, horns, strings and tuned percussion around Cline’s guitar. Throughout, atmosphere is paramount.
  6. Aug 17, 2016
    80
    On Lovers, Cline is effective at making re-interpreted songbook selections his own.
  7. Aug 12, 2016
    80
    When he steps away from alt-country-rock (or whatever you want to call Jeff Tweedy et al) Cline tends to veer towards a more experimental jazz sound and this is where Lovers really surprises.
  8. Aug 4, 2016
    80
    There are certainly lulls among the 18 tracks, moments of randomness, and even an occasional lack of direction. But if Cline is indeed trying to conjure a feeling of romance through instrumental jazz, he's done just that on this record.
  9. Aug 8, 2016
    76
    Almost half of the first CD is made up of Cline originals, and these pale a bit in comparison with the surrounding material. Though thanks to its sly and measured embrace of the experimental, Lovers still has all the originality it needs to endear.
  10. 75
    Lovers is, simultaneously, Nels Cline’s most ambitious and most straightforward project.
  11. Aug 4, 2016
    70
    The orchestra’s nearly perfect. Cline’s selections are non-traditional but trustworthy and intelligent. The album keeps a persistent mood even as it reflects on the mood. But 80 minutes of it requires patient listening, and there aren’t enough moments to really grab here.
  12. Aug 4, 2016
    70
    Lovers is a departure for Wilco guitar swami Nels Cline, whose side projects generally involve free-jazz freakouts. That's not to say this wordless double-disc set, featuring an all-star orchestra full of sharp improvisers, isn't wildly inventive in its water-colored way.

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