Combining the epic scope and spacious melodies of Coldplay with the twang of My Morning Jacket, Texas' Pleasant Grove have made a sophisticated and gut-wrenching record of melancholy memories and drifting harmonies. "Elaborate Son" is evocative of a Southwestern Doves, while "Impossible" is more like an electronic Radiohead track than anything by Pleasant Grove's labelmates Hayden or the Red House Painters. From the spare psych-folk of "Every Heart Is a Meal" to the sleepy "The Plaque at 16 Ft," The Art of Leaving never really rattles listeners like the best country-rock -- Will Oldham, Magnolia Electric Company, Beachwood Sparks, of course Gram Parsons and Neil Young -- but that's not really the point. With The Art of Leaving, Pleasant Grove have declared themselves the Sigur Rós of country -- and the moment listeners realize that they are meant to float with this album instead of rock out with it is the moment they get that it's brilliant.
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AllMusic Review by Charles Spano