Congregation is the third studio album by American alternative rock band The Afghan Whigs, released on January 31, 1992, by Sub Pop. After touring for two years in support of their 1990 album Up in It, the band received $15,000 advance from Sub Pop to record a follow-up album. It was primarily recorded at Bear Creek Studios in Woodinville and Buzz’s Kitchen in Los Angeles during July to August 1991. The band’s frontman Greg Dulli produced the album entirely with audio engineer Ross Ian Stein. The album’s production and release were hindered by Sub Pop’s financial difficulties, which were eventually resolved by the massive commercial success of Nirvana’s 1991 album Nevermind. Expanding on the aggressive sound of the band’s previous work, Congregation has more refined musical details and slower songs such as ballads. Its music also incorporates R&B, soul, and funk influences. The album’s cover depicts a nude black woman holding a white baby in her arms and alludes comically to the band’s African-American music influences. The songs have themes of pleasure and guilt, and deal with topics such as dysfunctional relationships and sexual deviancy. Conceived during the burgeoning grunge scene, the album has been viewed by music writers as stylistically distinct from other Sub Pop and grunge music. Upon its release, Congregation was very well received by music critics, who praised its musical quality, stylistic elements, and emotional content. It was promoted with two singles, “Turn On the Water” and “Conjure Me”, and The Afghan Whigs’ extensive touring in the United States and Europe. Although it did not chart, the album helped the band attain a cult following and receive offers from major record labels, leading to their signing to Elektra Records. Since its initial reception, Congregation has been viewed by writers as the band’s breakthrough album and a significant release in rock music during the 1990s.