Rolling Stone - No. 983, p.1073 out of 5 stars
- "...[S]oulful, synth-colored Americana..."
Spin - p.140
"TANGLEWOOD roars back to life with a massive band, a detailed sound, and a voice that sounds ravaged but right."
Entertainment Weekly - No. 847, p.84
"...Twanging guitar lines tangle with lush strings and...saccharine harmonies..." - Grade: B+
Magnet - p.109
"The heartrending aspects of Berman's vocals and lyrics are intact. Malkmus' guitar still perforates the most poignant, aching moments and one-liners like a bayonet to the gut."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.1004 stars out of 5
- "[U]tterly unique....His lyrics are full of poetic searching, whether musing on the feelings of animals or the clumsiness of our amorous advances..."
Silver Jews: David Berman, Duane Denison, Paz Lenchantin, Stephen Malkmus, Will Oldham, Tony Crow, William Tyler, Bob Nastanovich, Bobby Bare, Jr., Mike Fellows, Cassie Berman, Brian Kotzur.
Audio Mixers: John St. West; Joe Funderburk.
Recording information: Beech House, Nashville, TN; Truetone, Nashville, TN.
Photographer: William Eggleston.
The Silver Jews returned after a four-year absence with 2005's TANGLEWOOD NUMBERS, one of the band's most accomplished and satisfying sets. The Jews' over-hyped status as "a Pavement side-project" (the band contains Pavement members Steve Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich) and an "all-star group" (Will Oldham, Dave Pajo, and the Jesus Lizard's Duane Denison are also involved) is dubious at best. What's more accurate is that, regardless of the line-up, the group makes beautifully ragged music that perfectly complements the freewheeling irony and heartfelt confessionalism of poet Dave Berman's lyrics.
Said confessionalism is present in spades on TANGLEWOOD NUMBERS, a consequence of lead songwriter Berman's personal trials of the early 2000s. Yet the album never descends into emotive noodling, thanks to Berman's unique command of imagery and phrase. The music is a breezy amalgam of indie rock and roots music, with a higher production value than the band's previous efforts, a touch that only makes the music shimmer more brightly.