Q (1/00, p.140) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...more satisfying to early Ubu fans....partly the sound of a band chasing its own tail, they still osund like they're having a fine time."
Alternative Press (4/00, pp.95-6) - 4 out of 5 - "...continues the downbeat trend, with even its more rocking tracks...suffused with melancholy confusion....This disc is an essential purchase, but they're definitely not dancefloor or party fodder."
The Wire (4/00, p.63) - "...Swathed in layers of reverb-as-sugarcoating and [drummer, Anton] Fier's backbeats ensure that every song here moves several bpm faster than anything else in [their] catalog....easily Ubu's most accessible material..."
Pere Ubu: David Thomas (vocals); Mayo Thompson (guitar); Anton Fier (piano, marimba, drums, percussion); Allen Ravenstine (synthesizer); Tony Maimone (bass).
Recorded in August and December 1981, and January 1982.
Personnel: David Thomas (vocals); Anton Fier (piano, marimba, drums, percussion).
Recording information: Suma, Painesville, Ohio (01/1982); Suma, Painesville, Ohio (08/1981/12/1981).
The most restrained album of Pere Ubu's career, 1982's SONG OF THE BAILING MAN was the group's last before a five-year hiatus. Newest Ubu member Mayo Thompson (vocals, guitar), who had joined prior to 1981's THE ART OF WALKING, is almost entirely in control here, and the results sound more than a little like the whimsical art-rock of Thompson's once-and-future home, Red Krayola.
Although group leader David Thomas still sings the majority of the songs, even he seems to have retooled his unique vocal style to conform with the mood set by Thompson's skittering, playful guitar lines and Tony Maimone's springy, melodic bass. SONG OF THE BAILING MAN is considerably less dark and more song-oriented than the albums which preceded it, but it also lacks the pop tendencies of the albums made after the group's 1987 reformation.