Kottke's sixth official album is a dazzling array of pieces, some wistfully romantic ("Mona Ray"), others savagely witty ("When Shrimps Learn to Whistle"), and still others downright folksy ("Bill Cheatham"), with accompaniments of varying shapes and types, from dobro to synthesizer and piano. The shifting moods make this album, appropriately enough, a rather dreamlike experience, as Kottke moves from the blues-inflected "Vertical Trees," through a jaunty medley of "San Antonio Rose"/"America, the Beautiful," into "Constant Traveller" (which opens on a cascading guitar pattern and shifts to a slower, more elegant and bluesy mode), through rippling bravura pieces like "Taking a Sandwich to a Feast," and into the slower and more lyrical guitar-piano duet, "Hole in the Day." Kottke's own tunes are reasonably memorable, though the virtuosity tends to overshadow the music itself at times. The CD release is notably clean, its only flaw being the near impossibility of reading the credits on the back of the miniaturized album jacket.
AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder