"The sound is a pure wonder. It envelops you. It gets into your head and won't let go. A musical earthquake."
"The soundtrack to The Nightmare Before Christmas with lyrics by William Burroughs... yet another case of Pere Ubu charting a map of their own unique design."
Richard Wheelhouse, Sea Of Tranquility, 1/7/10.
It is low-key, insidious, sinister and stark. It is also very, very, good. The jarring instrumentation is challenging and interesting throughout, and is never allowed to sit in the background behind the vocals, but those vocals are undoubtedly the album's greatest strength. Dripping with character, a huge range of vocal trickery that fleshes out the tale of decadence never slips into silly-voice territory. Instead simply squeezing ever last ounce of personality from the odious characters they portray, the scathing tone in the tale of loathsome and corruptible rulers is perfectly judged.
Mark In The Blue House, Trotsky's Cranium, 10/16/9.
There is nothing easy about Long Live Pere Ubu! It is an artistic provocation. The comparisons to Captain Beefheart and musique concrete are inevitable. But I prefer David Thomas's recent assertion that this is the "only punk record that's been made in the last 30 years." He's right - in the best sense of the word "punk." There was a time - before all the pop formulae and marketing - when diversity marked the world of punk music. It was meant to confront, challenge, and tear down the walls... Bands that were nothing alike aesthetically could make common cause under the punk banner because it was all about creativity. Not so anymore... This is bizarre stuff and ultimately REALLY rewarding. This band just gets better and better. Highly recommended.
Sam Shepard, musicOHM
Make no mistake, this is an album that requires an awful lot of investment of time and understanding from the listener to fully appreciate the scale of what has been achieved. But it is more than worth it. Long Live Pere Ubu is a challenging, difficult and incredibly rewarding listen. Uncomfortable at times, but always controlled, intelligent and due to the subject matter, often outrightly childish. It represents a considerable achievement both musically and intellectually. Pere Ubu deserve widespread recognition for a wonderful piece of work that needs to be heard by as many people as possible.
Lee Wochner, Ubuwerks, 9/9/9.
Thirty-four years on, 20 years past the last gasping relevance of the Rolling Stones, Pere Ubu retains the industrial crackle of original thought. That makes every new CD by them a release worthy of anticipation.
Steve Terrell, Santa Fe New Mexican, 10/1/9
"Long Live Père Ubu!" is a compelling and dark album, if not an all-out rocker. The press material is right - it's not background music. It certainly isn't easy listening. But if you're twisted enough, it's a lot of fun, no matter what the press release says.
Mark Rowland, pennyblackmusic
Menacing and visceral combination of punk energy and drama, comedy and art... The music mixes glitchy ambient electronics, spidery post rock guitar, dissonant jazzy passages, semi-Birthday Party tongue in cheek horror, contemporary opera, and at one point, a chorus of belches. There is a sense of camp drama about many of the tracks that brings to mind some of the more ambitious 70's prog albums. But this album is brimming with gritty power, a punk menace...
Avril Simister, RoomThirteen, 12 out of 13, 9/9/9.
"Long Live..." is an intellectual piece, musically and due to its subject matter. But it's also bizarre and freakish, classically grotesque and downright silly at times. Like a Roald Dahl book come to life: full of monsters and hideously unpleasant characters. All set off to a dynamic, winding soundtrack which veers off on its own and back seemingly of its own accord.
J. Eric Smith, Albany Times Union, 9/18/9.
The political spectrum is a horseshoe, where extreme left-wing behavior and extreme right-wing behavior manifest in essentially the same ways, indistinguishable from each other to the victims suffering under them. Perhaps art and culture are similar: the most extremely high-brow art and the most extremely low-brow art may well be indistinguishable from each other. I suspect that Pere Ubu's members intuit that, and have thereby found the sweet spot where those distinctions become meaningless. It's a jaw-dropping spot to sit, watch and listen... There's a look, a sound, and a feel to Pere Ubu's works that's impossible to match, and I'm glad that with all the new elements they've added to their already impressive palette, that they didn't drop or alter those core concepts and conceits. "Long Live Pere Ubu!" is one of the most audacious pieces of new music that I've heard in ages.
Along with the signature electronic dissonance and stabbing, post-punk guitar, there's a touch of the gallows theatricality of The Birthday Party and the dust bowl holler of Tom Waits at his scratchiest. Most of all though, Ubu!
resounds with the influence of Captain Beefheart circa Doc at the Radar Station
or Ice Cream for Crow
. As a bold experiment in fusing spoken word with post-rock, post-punk and ambient electronica, "Long Live Père Ubu!"
is an unqualified success... it's trippy, twisted genius.
Simon Harper, Bearded Magazine, 9/7/9
Lurching and angular, as well as being creepily fascinating, this latest studio album is refreshingly ambitious. There's a slow-building feel which matches the arduous methods used by Thomas and co, as crashing rhythms and jerky guitars alternate on the album opener, while time changes are negotiated like an F1 driver taking a hairpin bend at breakneck speed. One of the most interesting aspects of the record is the twisted narrative which is woven throughout. The addition of Sarah Jane Morris' vocal - particularly on centre-piece "Bring Me The Head" - brings an extra dimension to the storytelling dynamic of this hugely intriguing record. With such a dazzlingly inventive and idiosyncratic streak - witness the recurring sombrero image - you begin to wish more bands dabbled in such creative flourishes.
Joe Shooman, Record Collector, October 2009. Four Stars.
is odd and scary... As the narrative unfolds, so do the atmosphere and sonics, thrown into a white-hot crucible of pretentiously brilliant creativity.
Mick Houghton, Uncut October 2009. Three Stars.
Jarry explored the notion of a "horrible beauty" - conveyed amply here by dark humour and discordant music, reminiscent of Beefheart or Zappa's early sound collage, Lumpy Gravy
Charlie Frame, Clash, October 2009. 8/10.
David Thomas inhabits the role of King Ubu brilliantly.
Nathaniel Cramp, NME, Sep 12 2009
It's absolutely bonkers.
Nick Toczek, Rock n Reel, Sept/Oct 2009
Wonderful. Inspired. Crazed. Theatrical. Uneasy listening. It's an utterly unhinged rock opera.
The Independent, 9/11/09
His (Thomas') adaptation and performance reflect his obvious relish in embodying all that is venal, corrupt and selfish about arriviste politicians, amusingly embodied in a running joke about his desire to "wear the big sombrero."
Malcolm Dome, Classic Rock, October 2009
This is a spikey, eccentric record that at times whispers so quietly that you're forced to listen carefully... One of Pere Ubu's most creative anti-artistic statements.
John Sobel, blogcritics.org
But Pere Ubu's unique sonic sensibility might just inspire you to look at the world in a slightly different way, finding color, as they do, in infinite shades of grey.