The Facts Of Life

  • Record Label: Jetset
  • Release Date: Mar 20, 2001

Universal acclaim - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. Sparse, noir-tinged melancholia... If David Lynch should ever film a TV series in England, here are the soundtrack composers.
  2. A delicious, genre-defying sound
  3. Entertainment Weekly
    The band brings its coolly distant, new-wave pop to 'Life,' building on the rawer sound of their 1999 debut. [4/6/2001, p.120]
  4. Haines' secret weapon lies in the hands of vocalist Sarah Nixey -- a cross between Olivia Newton-John and St. Etienne's Sarah Cracknell. Her singing style supports Haines' music with a deceptive beauty, as she wraps her voice around lyrics that belie that sweetness.
  5. Luke Haines, of nineties nobodies The Auteurs and Baader Meinhof, together with Sarah Nixey and John Moore, appear to have taken Saint Etienne's 'Like a Motorway' (from 'Tiger Bay') and driven away with it in a battered Ford Escort to a distant destination, a concept album about motorways and travelling.
  6. Spin
    They elaborate on the love/disappointment/death themes of Peggy Lee's "Is That All There Is?" while merging the sensibilities of the Velvet Underground and Vitamin C. [June 2001, p.153]
  7. The perfect soundtrack for the morning after the tacky sexuality of The Spice Girls and Robbie Williams.
  8. On The Facts of Life, [Luke] Haines and musical co-conspirator cum multi-instrumentalist John Moore construct a vast sonic wonderland in which [Sarah] Nixey’s starry-eyed vocals are given free reign.
  9. 80
    Though "French Rock'n'Roll" is somewhat lacking in zest (quelle surprise), the care afforded to the rest of this record's conception and execution is obvious.
  10. Like Pulp and Blur, Black Box Recorder has mastered a pop culture aesthetic inextricably linked to the post-war decline, one that turns complaining about how dreadful everything is into a supremely ironic, comic art form.
  11. Another batch of tunes that entwine gorgeous, intricate arrangements with the dark, intoxicating side of our libidos.
  12. Simultaneously lovely and repellent, there's echoes of the Pet Shop Boys, Pink Floyd and Momus. But, in truth, their combination of the sinister and the delicious is entirely original.
  13. It's all extremely pretty, and without seeming completely manipulative or cloying. Black Box Recorder, however, are still a bit dopey when it comes to lyrics.
  14. An album of surface comfort masking massive insecurities -- a perfect complement to the nation it so redolently evokes.
  15. If you like well-constructed pop/rock music with female vocals, it's definitely worth a look.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 4 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. BenjaminBunny
    Apr 1, 2004
    "The Art Of Driving," "The English Motorway System" and the title track are the most beautiful, brilliant and wryly moving tracks of this "The Art Of Driving," "The English Motorway System" and the title track are the most beautiful, brilliant and wryly moving tracks of this outfit's career. Unfortunately, the same can not be said of at least a third of the album which, at its worst, delves into overslick and trite examinations of adolescent sexuality. It's definitely worth purchasing for the above-mentioned songs, but keep your finger on the "track-forward" button. Full Review »