Dead Man's Bones - Dead Man's Bones

Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. 80
    Dead Man's Bones turns out to be a decidedly beautiful thing. [Nov 2009, p.93]
  2. Dead Man's Bones isn't perfect, but it's often fascinating and nearly always charming--and Shields and Gosling wouldn't have it any other way.
  3. Incredibly, it works. [Nov 2009, p.104]
  4. Gosling and Shields play all the instruments on the disc and sing along with the kids choir--which sounds like a recipe for disaster but in actuality it's both compelling and surprising well-rendered.
  5. Dead Man’s Bones evokes all the right images of a haunted October, and with such sensitivity and sincerity, it’s rarely kitschy and never inappropriate.
  6. 74
    The project was, in fact, meant to be set to a stage show that never materialized, but the songs do mostly stand quite well in their own...sort of. [Fall 2009, p.94]
  7. So many ways for it to go wrong, but instead it's a unique, catchy and lovably weird record, with highlights that could hold their own with the best indie singles of the year.
  8. Dead Man's Bones is a rickety exemplar of daring amaturism, in step with the duo's ineer-city-music-program pasts. [Fall 2009, p.57]
  9. Dead Man’s Bones is about death, right, and about love, testing where one touches the other, flirting with sensations similar and enduring the inability to confront or frankly deal with that intimacy. Had this record a thicker dramatic arc or something less confining than a spreadsheet of rules, then maybe the songs wouldn’t so inevitably miss their obvious marks.
  10. 60
    Is Dead Man's Bones' record necessarily as accomplished as either of the aforementioned? Maybe not. But when one half of your band is splitting his vocations by also brandishing his face onto big studio pieces of celluloid, it's still a mightily impressive debut.
  11. 60
    Hollywood brooder Ryan Gosling doesn't reverse the rule that actors make dubious pop musicians (see Keanu, Jared Leto, ScarJo), but his rickety collaboration with budding thespian Zach Shields has an undeniable dark charm.
  12. How you respond to this cloying, gothic preciousness will have everything to do with your personal tolerance level for things like rough-hewn songcraft and small children chanting about zombies. [16 Oct 2009, p.59]

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