"Brad Armstrong sings like Richard Buckner at a closed-casket viewing and favors intensely Book of Revelations imagery. 13ghosts continue to reinvent themselves with every song, trying on new sounds and styles to see what fits…The Strangest Colored Lights is a persistently somber, mostly humorless album, but it's so musically vigorous that you wouldn't mind if they dwelt on death for the rest of their lives."
-Pitchfork on “The Strangest Colored Lights” (7.6 Rating)
“Cicada is chockablock with ideas, encompassing an impressive breadth of styles and sounds-- sharp Southern rock, drowsy gospel, laidback 1970s pop, buzzing indie lo-fi, Sparklehorse-style self-destructive folk, percolating lounge rhythms, threadbare Americana, a little country, a little blues, a few drum machines and some George Harrison-style guitarwork-- all jammed together in 21 tracks with unusual arrangements, jostling transitions, and abrupt endings that musically enact the lyrics' obsession with untimely death and departure.”
-Pitchfork on “Cicada” (7.8 Rating)
“Cicada remains a two-part record that at times feels like a pair of separate but harmonious song cycles playing side by side, successfully challenging conventional notions of album cohesion.”
-San Francisco Bay Guardian
“Empire…is a beautifully constructed record, comprised of intricate acoustic guitar, raw lyrics, and powerful instrumentals…its complexities unravel to reveal a profound and delightful album.”
“Brad Armstrong is an auteur of atmosphere. On his newest release (Empire), the guitarist, keyboardist and vocalist of the post-Southern rock band the Dexateens is working in the darker areas of the human psyche and the relationships and culture it forges to cast those shadows.”
"Authenticity is a word that is often thrown around in music circles, and while it’s hard to pin down exactly what quality it is that makes a band authentic, you know it when you hear it. 13ghosts are a band that possess that indefinable quality. They have been around for a long time, and they sound like it."
“Garland (of Bottle Flies) sounds more like their previous albums, fraught with unsettled conflicts and sundered relationships. The fruit of (Armstrong’s) perseverance is an album that sounds both enthrallingly messy and meticulously constructed, setting up camp in a bleak landscape where few other Southern rock bands will even set foot.”
“…(13ghosts) displays enough offhand soul and talent to last a half dozen bands a long run.”
-Pop Culture Press
"The band may be haunted by the past and by things which are lost, buried, or hidden, but the creativity recorded on The Strangest Colored Lights assures that 13ghosts will not languish unheard and unseen. It’s more than a whisper. It is alive."
“13ghosts’s music acknowledges the realness of death but at the same time exposes the wonders of life…Underneath the band’s haunting vocals and incredibly textured, atmospheric sounds, its soul and story creep out of a layer of mourning and beg to be heard.”
"Liar’s Melody is the hardest, crunchiest, most aggressive album 13ghosts have ever made, one that reflects Armstrong’s tenure in the Dexateens."
"Liar’s Melody is well sculpted, its balance of roots folk country bottled up with raisin’ hell southern rock. A well-crafted return from hiatus, 13ghosts’ Liar’s Melody will hold its own in modern southern rock and alt-country record bins."
-Consequence Of Sound
“Early Space Oddity Bowie glam-folk crawls over some indie beard-rock grooves, like they've fallen from some universal troubadour as he flew back into the future. Smooth vocals and strangely groove-aware beats stick out under the folktronic myths and stories. Some guitars and drugs hit, and there is a darkness that haunts the sounds of these ghosts; a fuzz, noise and a desire to rock that creeps out like some haunted memory of something you can't put your finger on. There are also indierock epic sounds that are like waves and trumpets that blow you back like some demented outcast from a shoegazed version of Hair, and yeah – that spooks me out.”
-Big Takeover (On The Strangest Colored Lights)
"(Liar’s Melody is) a “where are they now” record, and judging by the music, where they are now is a pretty good place. The songs are alternately aggressive – the first song, Water, Rise, starts with what I can only call a buzz-saw of a bluesy riff – sweet, and filthily reflective, but they are all thrumming with life."
-Now This Sound Is Brave
“We’re not sure what delayed “Bottle Flies” and its eventual release on the Birmingham-based Skybucket Records, but it’s definitely a case of better late than never: Armstrong’s writing is as dark and quick-witted as ever, and his band’s Son Volt-like mix of scuzzy barroom rock and alt-country twang is in top form.”
“Cicada is a joyous album that has no problem practically punching the mundane boredom of emo with the despair of folk.”
”…haunting, honest, and distinctly American.”
“13Ghosts achieves delicate and beautiful (difficult) and then rowdy and drunken (surprisingly difficult).”
-Said the Gramophone
“They also point in the direction of old school garage, folkish singer-songwriter, woozy ballad crooning, country, primitive Americana, bluesy howls and straight up, whiskey-fueled bar rockers in a way that somehow reminds me of a state line liquor store between Arkansas and Missouri on a Sunday night.”
“Made up of poignant lyrics, and high-quality music. It’s surreal and it rocks!”
-Juice on Cicada
“…you really need to spend all 62 minutes with (Cicada) in order to fully appreciate it.”
“I was a slack-jawed idiot after I first bathed in the astral delight that is Cicada, and I’m still catching flies.”
-75 or Less
“…its core of sparkling melody rewards listeners with its abounding, unexpected musical twists.”
-The Daily Texan
”Cicada is a ragged, sprawling dumpster of varied visions, a record that haunts, rocks and also entices you to sip whiskey on the ricketyfront porch.”
-New Haven Advocate
“Whatever 13ghosts is doing at any particular moment, it seems to sound perfectly natural.”
“The tunes flow along like a dark folk-rock river, almost silent as it whispers over a bed of mossy pebbles, and aggressively noisy as it waterfalls over a jagged precipice.”
-Miami New Times
“Here’s a record that has a serious identity crisis, but that crisis is the crux.”-Real Detroit Weekly on “Cicada””13 Ghosts' genre-hopping never comes off as forced or desperate. The songs sound natural and perfectly fit into the skin of whatever style they happen to be presented in.”
“Like the insect the band’s album is named for, perhaps 13ghosts has to wait underground before it emerges and heads for the bright lights."
-Illinois Entertainer on “Cicada”