"In the Willows" starts a Jackie-O Motherfucker album on one of its calmest notes yet -- it's not that there hasn't been that element in their work, but it does seem to be part of a new progression, something gently formal and old country/blues/folk/atmospheric, a repurposing of elements into the alt-country world with a bit of guitar queasiness here and there, building up a bit in terms of volume and drama as it goes but never losing the general stateliness and formality. The contrasting electronic beat stutter cut-up, random sax, and other elements in the immediately following "Raga Joining" show that the more unexpected side hasn't gone away, but might be more parceled out now, with "Raga Separating" later bringing in similarly off-kilter drumming and general instability. This shifting back and forth between tradition and avant-garde tradition, as it were, defines much of the rest of the album -- call it maturing or call it other interests, but it's a comfortable enough listen, as appropriate for the schizophrenic beast that still gets labeled indie rock as anything else. "Bring It to Me" may have some wooziness and scraggle, not to mention a slightly rougher rhythm section, but it still has a core structure and gentility; similarly, "Dedication" has a clear, slow central melody and soft twang-tinged salute to someone "trying to find the next right thing to do" while distant feedback scrawls and scrapes, suggesting a confused road ahead for said figure.
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett