Leonard Cohen's debut album encapsulated the performer's artistry. A successful poet and novelist, he came to music through the folk idiom, and this set combines the aural simplicity and visual clarity of these two passions. Cohen's lugubrious voice brought an intensity to a haunting collection bound together by beautiful melodies and deeply personal lyrics. Members of contemporary group Kaleidoscope join producer John Simon in creating a delicate backdrop for some memorable love songs. Cohen's ability to be both intimate and universal is a rare gift and results in a body of work that is both timeless and enthralling, albeit a bit sombre.
Rolling Stone (p.78) - 4.5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he tunes remain surefire four decades later....This is deep, witty and enduring stuff."
Spin (p.108) - "[S]tripped-down, world-weary folk songs....[They] still hold an uncanny attractiveness today."
Q (p.132) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he imagery woven through the likes of 'Sisters Of Mercy' proved that no one, not even Bob Dylan, had such a complete mastery of words."
Q (p.132) - 5 stars out of 5 - "[With] a dark wit and sophistication..."
Magnet (p.93) - "[T]he tentative, almost boyish softness of Cohen's first folksinging forays only underscores his grim lyrics."
Dirty Linen (p.43) - "[The] impeccable production put Cohen's melancholy , sensuous baritone at the forefront, with an impressive array of subtle instrumental embellishments lurking in the background."
No Depression (p.76) - "[The songs] have a timeless and ageless power, even when they're awash in '60s countercultural meaning."