Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. Jun 4, 2013
    Understated is an absolute triumph, matching any of the high-water marks of his past career.
  2. May 23, 2013
    It's a celebration of life by a craftsman intelligent enough to know how to pitch it perfectly.
  3. Apr 10, 2013
    It is a joyous, emboldened return to form and one that reminds us of what a treasure Edwyn Collins is.
  4. Mar 28, 2013
    Some of Collins' finest work can be found here.
  5. Mar 26, 2013
    Compelling back-story aside, Understated--Collins’ eighth solo album--is a magnificent set of songs.
  6. Mar 26, 2013
    A big, gorgeous old hug of an album.
  7. Mar 25, 2013
    [The cover of Rod McKuen's "Love's Been Good to Me" is] a weak ending to an otherwise wonderful album that shows that Collins is truly back in command of his art.
  8. Mar 22, 2013
    Thirty-odd years after singing about ripping it up, then, Collins is calling on the past to help him through. It’s working brilliantly.
  9. Mar 21, 2013
    [An] unlikely, lovely and often inspiring triumph.
  10. Mojo
    Mar 21, 2013
    A clear-voiced statement of pop intent. [Apr 2013, p.97]
  11. Q Magazine
    Mar 21, 2013
    Understated is a great album, but that's what we've come to expect from Edwyn Collins. [Apr 2013, p.97]
  12. May 28, 2013
    Being able to grasp a second chance has provided Collins with real impetus, and we as listeners can only sit back and reap the rewards we can from the resulting output.
  13. 70
    Time and circumstance have not blunted his abilities, and Understated is lyrically empathetic, musically emphatic.
  14. Mar 25, 2013
    Granted, even now it's difficult to assess his work wholly objectively given his recent, well-documented struggles, but strip away any unnecessary contextualisation and the record stands up proudly and defiantly on its own two feet.
  15. Uncut
    Mar 21, 2013
    Musically, it is business as usual--out-on-the-floor, stack-heeled indie stompers all the way--but if 2010's stark Losing Sleep was a little on the abrupt side, this is more concise still. [Apr 2013, p.75]
  16. Mar 27, 2013
    Orange Juice's debut You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever is beautiful because of its innocence, whereas Understated is bruised by the many experiences that came afterward. It's no lesser record for it, just one that feels like a part in the purging process rather than a place where Collins feels fully at ease.
  17. Throughout, we get a wounded and fragile man setting his hope-filled heart to music.
  18. 60
    It's ironic that soul music dominates, given Collins' lack of its most crucial element: a commanding vocal presence.
  19. 60
    The best moments of the album work by adding a more considered approach to material that, in the wrong hands, could sound slapdash. However, the albums least remarkable moments are plodding at best and mawkish at worst.

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