The Unexamined Life compares oddly with most of the Dicks' later work. The record is probably more focused than those which followed, but focused on its own eeriness -- the quasi-psychedelic folk vibe has more in common with the Japanese collective Ghost than with the sprawlingly odd Americana of albums like The Emotional Plague. This gives The Unexamined Life a haunting edge that simply isn't captured by the Lou Barlow references that seem appropriate -- there's an antique and wholly psychedelic quality behind the record's drawling folk, and it's that element that lends the album most of its interest.
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AllMusic Review by Nitsuh Abebe