We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 8 Ratings

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  • Summary: This is the latest album for the experimental composer from Minnesota.
  • Record Label: Ribbon Records
  • Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 20
  2. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. Jun 30, 2011
    Pitiless Censors is a sparkling album, a lo-fi synth pop masterpiece that manages to give endless aural delights while still being intellectually engaging, and despite having been caught at the center of a whirlpool of current movements, all of which reflect some aspect of Maus' style, he has only cemented his identity as a singular, unimpeachable figure.
  2. 80
    He has incorporated some New Wave signposts, with a little melancholy disco, constantly refining what might be the right kind of landscape for his deeply yearning, compelling vocal.
  3. Jun 30, 2011
    Unlike Before Today, Maus' third release is less moody, more consistent in its sense of oddness and intrigue. We Must Become... is also consistent in that nearly every track manages to top what came before it.
  4. Aug 8, 2011
    American producer conjures up dazzling electronics. [Aug. 2011, p. 123]
  5. Jun 30, 2011
    As a whole, We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves doesn't necessarily offer the highs of his past two albums, or something as immediate as "Rights for Gays," but it is a remarkably cohesive listen.
  6. Jun 30, 2011
    It makes sense that the conceptual gravitas behind an album like this wouldn't have enough fuel for 11 songs (the originals of this scene weren't necessarily known for their full-lengths) but it certainly would've been amazing to see him pull it off. Specific, loving, authentic, but limiting, it may leave us wanting more--but there's no doubt that John Maus made the album he wanted to make.
  7. Jun 30, 2011
    The album is filled with garage-sale synths flooded with reverb and nary a hook to be found, sounding, at best, like an unfinished video-game score ("Hey Moon") and, at worst, like a Human League track played backward in a Walkman taped to the skull of a drowning man ("Head for the Country").

See all 20 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Nov 14, 2011
    Without a doubt one of the saving graces of the year, this album increasingly becomes all you need to listen to each time you return to it. Each song specializes on melodies that grow into mantras more than earworms, which makes the short time-frame not only convenient but essential. Whereas lo-fi is usually panned to either the "sacrifice for prolificness" or "limitations of intimacy/obscurity" arguments, here the production quality is totally irrelevant, although it detracts some people to the point that it's all they notice; to really understand how inseparable and intrinsic it is to the music, you really need to study Maus's character - interviews of him are themselves exponentially entertaining and worthwhile. The commoner's aesthetic, classic ear for melody, and charming optimism of John Maus on this record and in general make WMBTPCOO the Little Red Book of the post-pop, post-creative-quagmire, post-depressing-post-spinoffs era. Expand
  2. Jul 26, 2011
    John Maus's 3rd album is a funny release. It tests the listeners patience by hiding the vocals in the back of the mix and fortifying them with walls of synths. A winter album released in the summer. Stand out tracks:
    Streetlight, Believer, Quantum Leap. Punching way above his weight this will most likely be my choice for album for the year.
  3. Oct 4, 2011
    This one is tough. Is it a pastiche or just bad production? Anyway, itâ