While an inferior and far more inconsistent album than 'The Guild of Temporal Adventurers,' I'd say that Kendra Smith's first and only full-length is still worth a listen for fans of her uniquely skewed and eclectic brand of songcraft. It's a noteworthy album if only for the fact that it was Smith's final release before her self-imposed retreat from the music industry and, by and large, society as well, presumably still living without electricity in her small cabin in the woods of Northern California. - Ariel
Picking up with real studio effort (Smith co-produced with Uberman), Five Ways of Disappearing is the most ambitious and successful undertaking of Smith's career. Both a strong recapitulation and a brave relaunch, the album has it all: quiet Velvety obsessions ("Get There"), cerebral songdom ("Aurelia," "Space Unadorned"), trancey rock ("Drunken Boat"), trad folk ("Maggots"), Kurt Weill's Berlin ("Bohemian Zebulon"), folk-rock ("Valley of the Morning Sun"), new wavey bubblegum ("In Your Head") and one of the best acoustic Led Zeppelin imitations in recent memory ("Bold Marauder"). No two tracks have much in common beyond Smith's enervated singing; even when she might just be aiming to sound ordinary, the record comes off appealingly offbeat. Though some songs are amiss, precious or overly derivative, as a personal sampler, Five Ways of Disappearing is an impressive — and colorful — achievement.
[Karen Schoemer/Ira Robbins]