John Maus – We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves (2011)

frontcover1We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves is the third album from the American electronic musician John Maus, released in 2011, on Ribbon Music in the United States and Upset the Rhythm in the UK.

We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves received largely positive reviews from contemporary music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 75, based on 20 reviews, which indicates “generally favorable reviews”.

David Bevan of Pitchfork praised the album in a positive review, stating, “We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves is the most vibrant and toothsome expression of Maus’ pursuits yet. He keeps his vocals awash in gothic reverb and echo-driven effects, blurring the lines between what he’s saying and emoting.” Bevan continues, “Maus has a full set of songs whose architecture is just as sophisticated and riveting in actuality as it is in theory. While earlier records have been riddled by experiments gone awry, they also didn’t feature the revolving parts and aerodynamic hooks of “Believer”, the closing track here and one that glitters from any angle. And although there’s another vocalist at his side in the lullaby lilt of “Hey Moon” (cover a Molly Nilsson song), the way Maus sings to the heavens makes it sound as though he’s no longer alone with his thoughts. Spend a lot of time with this record, and it’s hard not to feel like you’re right there with him.”

johnmaus01Jordan Redmond of Tiny Mix Tapes gave the album a very positive review, stating, “Being an academic, John Maus understands the imperative to only release bodies of work that are conceptually sound and completely actualized. With Pitiless Censors, he sought to break into a new creative period but was disappointed that it was only a “consummation” or logical conclusion to the sound on his previous two widely-available albums (Songs and Love Is Real). Based on the evidence here, Maus needn’t have any reservations about the body of work that he has released into the world. 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. When confronted with music like this, it’s impossible not to be a believer.”

Matthew Cole of Slant Magazine gave the album a 0/5 star rating, citing derivative synth instrumentation and the validity of Maus’s philosophical work, stating, “Maus’s We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves is engineered for minimal accessibility and maximum pretension; if you’ve heard even 30 seconds of this album, then you know he isn’t looking to make his name in the music industry.” Cole continues, “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 and, at worst, like a Human League track played backward in a Walkman taped to the skull of a drowning man. Sometimes the instrumentals approximate a no-budget Disintegration in their misbegotten twinkliness, but no amount of lo-fi shimmer can compensate for the intentional inadequacy of the vocal lines and the utter lack of memorable melodies.” It was one of the only negative reviews of the release. (by wikipedia)

Yes … this is another magic album in this blog.


John Maus (all insruments)


01. Streetlight (Maus) 2.52
02. Quantum Leap (Maus) 2.52
03. …And the Rain (Maus) 2.46
04. Hey Moon (Nilsson) 4.08
05. Keep Pushing On (Maus) 3.33
06. The Crucifix (Maus) 1.15
07. Head For The Country (Maus) 3.16
08. Cop Killer (Maus) 2.41
09. Matter Of Fact (Maus) 2.16
10. We Can Breakthrough (Maus) 2.08
11. Believer (Maus) 4.05