Ed's Redeeming Qualities might seem, on the surface, like a purely wacky band -- between the odd title of Big Grapefruit Cleanup Job (a live recording), the undeniably wacky lyrics of its songs, and the seemingly unconventional instrumentation the band chooses, there is a great deal of idiosyncrasy. But when the band hits its best moments, it's clear that they're not really kidding that much. The group's constructions of violin, acoustic guitar, ukulele, accordion, clarinet, and mandolin are simply drawing on traditional, pre-rock formats, and their songwriting can be as emotionally powerful as it can be goofy. Take, for instance, the song "Driving on Nine" (probably best known through the Breeders' cover on Last Splash) -- there's a folksy, country-tinged, and purely American feel to the song that's less concerned with any sort of instrumental brilliance than it is with simply letting the songwriting shine. It's moments like these that make Ed's Redeeming Qualities such a charming and interesting band -- and the live recording of Big Grapefruit Cleanup Job lets the band's simplicity and warmth come across with an intimacy that's hugely appealing.
AllMusic Review by Nitsuh Abebe