In a contemporary review for Entertainment Weekly, David Browne viewed Angels with Dirty Faces as Tricky's best album since his 1995 debut Maxinquaye. He described it as an "alluring sonic blur" that preserved his previous music's mesmeric sounds yet felt "more adventurous, rhythmically and musically, than its predecessors".Simon Price hailed it as Tricky's most cogent work since his debut album: "Simultaneously challenging and gorgeously formed, it's a brilliant mix of defiance and achievement."Village Voice critic Robert Christgau said it was a rock album with a live band on every song, no samples, and "grimy" productions that complemented Tricky's anti-social themes, making for a difficult but interesting listen:
"I don't like this century," Tricky mutters in the course of "Record Companies," and that sums up his worldview as eloquently as words ever will. It's the sounds that signify, and postindustrially premillennial though Tricky's may be, they're also original, strong, and to the point. He distinguishes himself from the run of noise sculptors just by remaining conducive to recognizable life. He's a hater not a fighter, and the devil is in his details. So give that man a set of horns--he's earned them.
^Spin (7/98, pp.119-121) - 8 (out of 10) - "...Rather than the lush digital soundscapes of MAXINQUAYE or the shimmering desolation of PRE-MILLENIUM TENSION, ANGELS resounds with cellos, tremolo guitars and bass clarinets, as well as the usual electo-wheezes and shuddering bass loops...."