Generally favorable reviews - based on 7 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. It's great, with well-judged strings and horns giving full rein to some marvellously acute lyrics.... A glorious return. [Oct 2002, p.117]
  2. With songs full of piss and vinegar, Soft Cell's return is triumphant and toxic.
  3. Cruelty Without Beauty is the sound of Soft Cell reclaiming the musical territory they staked out in their 1981 hit debut, Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret, offering up hooky, dancefloor-oriented synthetic soul, now jacked up into a higher gear for the clublands of the new millennium.
  4. 70
    The finest tracks here update the duo's attitude as well as their sound, dissecting anew cultural and emotional climate with a bittersweet detachment reminiscent of the Pet Shop Boys. [Oct 2002, p.124]
  5. As before, attempts to explore London's seedy underbelly verge on hamfisted and voyeuristic. But, again as before, Soft Cell really flourish with Marc's relationship horror stories, which happens on two songs.
  6. 60
    In updating the duo's dirty old sound, Ball makes the arrangements clunky, too clean and dangerously close to the blandness Almond bemoans. [#10, p.126]
  7. 60
    What Cruelty Without Beauty lacks in originality it more than makes up for with sheer wit. [Oct 2002, p.81]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 9 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. TonyB
    Jan 3, 2003
    Pop Idols, listen and learn, Marc at his vocal best with music and lyrics to die for. More Soft Cell and less hard sell is just what the record industry needs! Full Review »
  2. MikeS.
    Oct 16, 2002
    Best album this year, not much time to better it......10 out of 12 tracks could easily fit onto "TAOFA" or "TLNIS", and incorporate the best of Marc's solo stuff and Soft Cell's wierd vision of the world. FANTASTIC!! Full Review »
    Oct 16, 2002
    Finally someone is writing great music again. Great lyrics, nice melodies and haunting tunes. We must tip our glasses and say thanks to the boys of Soft Cell and Caligula Syndrome should be a hit - Just give it time. Full Review »