I thought that hood had hit their peak of excellence with 1998's "rustic houses, forlorn valleys" but this exceeds even that mournful, intimate, gorgeous and groundbreaking album. this album is even more innovative, exploring ambient, slowcore, postpunk, and other select genres to create an extremely emotional, expressive, and melancholic work. samples, beats, electronic blips melded with more organic instruments seems to emphasize the album's theme of slogging through a cold world. lyrics like "do you ever lie awake at night and think about your life and all your friends who died..or do you even think at all?" (or something close to this) adds to the despondency. this is a perfect album for those who are both sensitive and intelligent, perfect for those who loathe both the britneys and the strokes of the world.