Two types of records usually have the highest potential for embarrassment: "comedy" records and "scary" records. Unlike an awful pub rock mistake or a tuneless ambient workout, there seems to be nothing more obnoxious than listening to a record that tries -- and fails -- to be either funny or frightening. Coil's Musick to Play in the Dark 2 takes the latter stab into forbidding, blood-velvet territory and consistently bungles it up. "Ether" ends with a magnificently processed, sincerely unsettling chant, but it takes almost 11 minutes of "cats + piano" melodies to get there. Elsewhere, opener "Something" takes a deeply effective, goth Gaia heartbeat and polishes it with cartoonish "menacing" swooshes and sirens that probably could be found on a two-buck "Boo! Halloween Hits!" supermarket CD. The sincerity of Coil should not be undervalued -- as work here and in the past can easily attest to -- it's the failure to harmonize it with a minimalist instinct that gets in the way. Because no matter how much somebody tries to tell you a joke or scare you, only the gifted can do it without sounding like a moron.
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AllMusic Review by Dean Carlson