The title that the Fatima Mansions originally had in mind for their second album was "Bugs F*cking Bunny," but the alternative rockers ended up going with the more marketable title Viva Dead Ponies. That's the only real compromise that was made with this CD -- both musically and lyrically, Viva Dead Ponies was among the more uncompromising releases of 1991. The Mansions' lyrics don't go out of their way to be accessible, and musically, the band isn't afraid to keep the listener guessing. Some of the songs are quite melodic (especially "The Door-to-Door Inspector," "Broken Radio #1," and "You're a Rose"), but on "Look What I Stole for Us, Darling" and the single "Blues for Ceausescu" (which reflects on the overthrow and execution of Romania's Stalinist dictator Nikolai Ceausescu), the Mansions make it clear that they aren't afraid to be blistering and highly abrasive. With the Mansions, you never know if you're going to get something as hauntingly melodic as "The Door-to-Door Inspector" or something metallic and industrial-influenced like "Look What I Stole for Us, Darling." Viva Dead Ponies isn't easy to absorb on the first listen, but after several listens, it becomes increasingly clear just how much this risk-taking effort has going for it.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson