A short laser pulse in wide range of wavelengths, from infrared to X-ray, disturbs electron-ion equilibrium and increases pressure in a heated layer. The case where the pulse duration τ L is shorter than acoustic relaxation time t s is considered in the paper. It is shown that this short pulse may cause thermomechanical phenomena such as spallative ablation regardless of wavelength. While the physics of electron-ion relaxation strongly depends on wavelength and various electron spectra of substances: there are spectra with an energy gap in semiconductors and dielectrics opposed to gapless continuous spectra in metals. The paper describes entire sequence of thermomechanical processes from expansion, nucleation, foaming, and nanostructuring to spallation with particular attention to spallation by X-ray pulse.