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]

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