Freaks is so different than It that it nearly sounds like a different band. Granted, that is largely due to the fact that Pulp was a different band, apart from lead vocalist Jarvis Cocker. After the unsuccessful showing of It, the band broke up, leaving Cocker to assemble a new lineup. The most significant new member was Russell Senior, who brought a fascination with art, noise, and neo-gothic overtones to the band. But that change in sound isn't the only reason why Freaks is the darkest record Pulp ever made, or ever will make. Cocker's lyrics are neurotically gloomy and paranoid, obsessed with failures and outcasts. While this would become a signature theme for Pulp's songs, Cocker's outlook on Freaks is oppressively bleak -- he finds no future for the mis-shapes and misfits in his songs. Not only are the songs hopeless, so is the production. The very sound of Freaks is muddy and impenetrable, making it difficult to find the occasional rewarding moment on the album, such as "Master of the Universe," "They Suffocate at Night," or Senior's "Anorexic Beauty."
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine