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.
AllMusic Review by Charles Spano