After the success of platinum-winning Bloody Kisses (1993), Type O Negative come into this album with confidence and bravado, and use it to further explore the doom–pop soundscapes found in its predecessor. At the same time quintessential expression and parody of the 1990’s goth zeitgeist, October Rust’s catchy synth work and doomy, sludgy guitar riffs are a carefully crafted backdrop to Steele’s uncannily low-pitched voice, carrying him as he explores themes of love, death, sex and obsession.
The lead single “My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend” is carried by a haunting synth hook that is contrasted with a claustrophobic verse that plays on the lower end of Steele’s register and Hickey’s muddy guitar tone. The song is peppered with a number of dramatic sighs, breaths, and giggles and expertly touches many of the keywords that define the band’s visual imaginary: meat and cigarettes, latex, fur, and leather.
Theatricality is further explored in the wordily titled “The Glorious Liberation of the People’s Technocratic Republic of Vinnland by the Combined Forces of Europa”, a minute-long snippet during which the band shows they can go operatic, while the following “Wolf Moon” plays on the language of the time’s media obsession with lycanthropy (the movies Wolf, Bad Moon, and Moonchild among the others, plus the more mainstream An American Werewolf in Paris shortly after the album’s publication) to talk about a bloody sexuality.
The last single, “Cinnamon Girl”, is actually a Neil Young cover (off of 1969’s Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere), rendered as dark and suggestive but not without love for the original. This is a good example of the sensible (and often tongue-in-cheek) aptitude for covers Type O have displayed along their whole career.
The work always manages to remind the listener not to take it too seriously, though, embroidered as it is with moments of camp, spoken-word skits and a first track (“Bad Ground”) made to simulate a faulty speaker connection to trick its listener to get up and check. Who knew morbidity could be such fun?
You can find the album on Spotify.
Below, the video for the lead single. Ultranineties.