Even in a crisp digital format, the new Songs of Desperation sounds as if Harry Smith dug it out of some trunk in a long-abandoned Mississippi shack that was once shared by The Cramps, Nick Cave, and the Louvin Brothers. The miserable, primitive duo carries on as if the graveyard is but a step ahead, the devil a step behind, and there's hell to pay in every direction.
- The Onion
Sounding like they were recorded in the 1930s on broken equipment in a desolate region of southern Mississippi, Those Poor Bastards evoke the kind of heart-wrenching feelings of misery and loneliness you'd hope to hear on an album called Songs of Desperation. Unrelentingly slow and scratchy, this true old-time Gothic country draws more influence from the likes of Tom Waits and Nick Cave than Johnny Cash. The inky concoction of organ, banjo, and guitar on Songs of Desperation is the background music for themes of sold souls, empty lives, and certain death, but the album is still not without an element of black humour. If you find rockabilly and psychobilly's treatment of the genre too cartoonish and trivial, Those Poor Bastards offers the polar opposite you've been looking for.
— Rue Morgue Magazine