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Twilight Singers - Blackberry Belle

  by Andrew Carver

published: 16 / 2 / 2004



Twilight Singers - Blackberry Belle
Label: One Little Indian
Format: CD

intro

Melancholic, but excellent second album from the Twilight Singers, which proves to be a stunning return to form for frontman, former Afghan Whigs singer Greg Dulli


With his second Twilight Singers album, things are definitely looking up for former Afghan Whigs singer Greg Dulli. By which I mean to say he’s an incorrigibly gloomy bastard, self-hating and sleazy, swerving between narcissism and self-destruction. It's good to see him back on form. As on the previous Twilight Singers album, Dulli is backed by a host of capable guest musicians, Martin Schneeberger chief among them. It follows the sound of the Whigs’ later albums —  the descending piano figure is a bit of a Dulli trademark — it’s hard-hitting rhythmically, and though a bit less raucous than the Whigs, it’s still full sounding (think of a more ornamental, funkier 'Pleasure Forever' and you’ll be close). Of course, the star of the show is Dulli’s hushed croon, singing songs of doom. Lead track 'Martin Eden' documents its protagonist’s plunge into darkness, a trip from which he expects no return or, as Dulli puts it “It’s party time”. Foreboding stalks almost every line in the album, from the rhythm provided by a phone’s busy signal in 'Esta Noche', the dangerous temptation’s of 'Teenage Wristband' and the rock star on the skids in 'St. Gregory'. There’s an amusing nod to Pink Floyd’s'Dark Side of the Moon', another tribute to paranoid descent; Petra Haden’s ululations on 'Number Nine' filling much the same role as Clare Torry’s on 'The Great Gig in the Sky'. 'Number Nine' also features Screaming Trees and Quenes of the Stone Age vocalist Mark Lanegan, who is as gravelly as always. Despite the morbid subject matter, there’s always a spark of life in Dulli’s songs; lights shine in the darkness, and even if people are burning out, at least they’re burning. Dulli’s switch to a more voluble shouting style let’s the listener know that as far down as he goes, he’s going to do his damnedest to crawl out. Any Afghan Whig fan who lost interest after 'Gentlemen' , or who was unimpressed, by the first Singers album will rank 'Blackberry Belle' among Dulli’s best work (to my mind, it rivals 'Gentlemen') and it’s an excellent find for any fan of sophisticated rock.



Track Listing:-
1 Martin Eden
2 Esta Noche
3 Teenage Wristband
4 St. Gregory
5 The Killer
6 Decatur St.
7 Papillon
8 Follow Your Down
9 Feathers
10 Fat City (Slight Return)
11 Number Nine


Label Links:-
http://www.indian.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/olirecords
https://twitter.com/olirecords
http://www.songkick.com/users/onelittleindian
https://www.youtube.com/user/onelittleindian
https://plus.google.com/+OneLittleIndianRecords



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