The 69 Eyes are underground goth legends. The Helsinki Vampires have been producing their signature brand of macabre decadence for the last three decades making a successful career for themselves by pulling musical themes from dark literature, film and pop culture and setting these stories to the tune of catchy, danceable rock and roll with a ghoulish edge. They are Halloween personified.
Their twelveth full-length album Universal Monsters serves as steadfast proof that their music has stood the test of time and is everything you’d expect from a 69 Eyes record - although this may be the core issue with it as, like the majority of their career, the band have again played it very safe. During my initial listen to Universal Monsters, I couldn’t help thinking "Dolce Vita", "Never" and a few other tracks were nothing more than songs lifted from their Paris Kills or Blessed Be discs — both albums that are over 10 years old. On their twelveth album, it would have been cool to see The 69 Eyes move away from their formulaic song structure, repetitive keyboard chords and predictable lyrics. Maybe it might be time for them to take a few risks and be salacious but I suppose the argument "don’t fix what isn’t broken" can be applied as well?
Regardless, it is remarkable to see a band that has been around since my initial descent into dark music is still doing what they love and also looking exactly the same as they did when I was 13. Perhaps there is more to their nickname "The Helsinki Vampires"?
Universal Monsters Track Listing:
01. Dolce Vita
02. Jet Fighter Plane
03. Blackbird Pie
04. Lady Darkness
05. Stiv & Johnny
07. Miss Pastis
09. Shallow Graves
10. Rock 'N' Roll Junkie