The album drew comparisons to Joy Division and The Cure and created a buzz in clubs. Reviewers in subsequent years have derided the album as dated and derivative, but accurately reflecting the emerging goth sound of the time, with "icy, throbbing keyboards; bummed-out vocals; chilly, robotic percussion; gloomy, ethereal guitars; and unusual, cryptic song titles".
In 1985, Melody Maker pronounced the debut "a nervous and brilliant record" from "guitar-splayed firefields of 'Cry in the Wind' and 'Stumble and Fall', and thrill(!) to the system clearing, bass bloodied '7th Time'... The range and depth of this mysterious record do not exclude arrogant electro dance anthems like 'Stranger' and 'A Day'; nor do Xymox avoid sentimentality as on 'No Human Can Drown'".
In the same year, Sounds deemed the album "a strange and wonderful debut from 4AD's first signing since Dead Can Dance. Particular favourite is 'A Day' which suggests so many places, colours feelings and despairs that it is totally awe inspiring".