Recorded in tinny lo-fi that gives the already stark performances an additional needling edge by the near-total lack of low frequencies, Rover sounds like nothing more than the modern-day alt-folk equivalent of an early Guided by Voices record. Even the songwriting has some points of comparison, with a few minute-long fragments thrown in between the more fleshed-out tunes. With arrangements largely based on mandolin and acoustic guitar and the duo's affectedly whiny singing voices, it's hard to get past the idea that parts of Rover are some kind of deadpan folk put-on, "folk music" as played by college-town hipsters (Lawrence, KS, to be precise) who don't really know the form. This is not to say that Rover is, god forbid, an ironic album, nor does it slot the duo in with the exceedingly self-conscious Devendra Banhart and his ilk. Songs like the oddly foreboding, accordion-powered "O, God, I Have a Canoe" are inescapably insular, but not impenetrably so, and on the to-the-point "Drakkar Sauna Says Motherfuck John Ashcroft," they've created a condemnation of the George W. Bush presidency on a par with the Fugs.
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason