ďNotorious for shunning concert performances, Steely Danís improbable live reunion in the mid-Ď90s eventually turned into a full-fledged reunion album. Since Steely Dan fans went two decades without even the hope of a new record, the very prospect was a delight, but it was also a little worrying, since a botched comeback would tarnish the bandís legacy. Fortunately, Two Against Nature is as seductive and alluring as the best of Steely Danís later work, with a similar emphasis on classy atmosphere and groove. Pitched halfway between Gaucho and the immaculate production of Fagenís solo album Kamakiriad, itís a graceful, intricate record that works its subtle charms at its own pace. While that means it isnít a knockout on the first listen, itís a real grower Ė a quietly addicting album that slowly works its way into the subconsciousĒ (Erlewine).
ďItís also an uncannily natural extension of the duoís previous work, but surprisingly, it never sounds nostalgic or dated. Itís clear that Becker and Fagen re-teamed because they simply enjoy working together: crafting the songs and arrangements, designing the production, shoehorning in-jokes into the lyrics, finding the exact performances that fit their specifications. In this sense, Two Against Nature is no different than any past Steely Dan effort; thatís exactly why itís welcome, since they find nearly endless permutations within their signature sound. Lyrically, the album isnít quite as malicious as their Ď70s work, but they havenít lost their sharp humor, even on some mere throwaway linesĒ (Erlewine).
ďThe real payoff, however, is musical. Each song gradually reveals its own identity through small, thrilling touches, giving the record depth and character, and fitting it comfortably into Steely Danís acclaimed body of work. And thatís as delightfully unexpected and peculiarly beautiful as anything else in their careerĒ (Erlewine).