Volume 94, Issue 22
Friday, October, 6, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
It's twilight time for Dulli
The Twilight Singers
twilight as played by the twilight singers
For over a decade, the Afghan Whigs' leader and principle songwriter, Greg Dulli, has churned out gloomy, soulful rock that, while receiving praise critically, has never broken commercially.
With his debut solo project, Dulli has become even more esoteric. Collaborating with Fila Brazillia, as well as members of Screaming Trees and brad, Dulli has recorded the most challenging, rewarding album of his career.
It begins with delicate piano and swelling strings, leading into "the twilight kid," a mid-tempo rocker with a subtle breakbeat rushing underneath. It is followed by "that's just how that bird sings," an acoustic number with multiple, overlapping vocals.
The track "king only" sees Dulli croaking out a tale of broken promises over a bed of soulful horns while the hypnotic, instrumental "verti-marte" is a pastiche of chants, found sounds and lush keyboards. The latter features a skittering drum machine track that seems to dart in and out of the song.
This relaxed vibe continues with "railroad lullaby," a beautiful ballad that marries a simple organ motif to some anguished harmonica playing. Tracks like these anchor the album; aurally gorgeous and structurally daring, they lock you into a mellow groove and hold your attention rapturously.
Conceptually, twilight as played by the twilight singers loosely tells the story of a particularly bad night. There is much talk of abandonment and the image of being dragged down, perhaps into hell. The highly rhythmic title track, which closes the CD, is the one reprieve from the desolation, with its refrain of "everything's going to be alright."
Musically, this album is unlike any Dulli has ever recorded with the Afghan Whigs. Where the Whigs are all about a guitar driven sound, the Twilight Singers focus on creating atmospheric, textured soundscapes. This is an intimate album, clearly intended for late night listening.
It's also arguably the best album of the year.
Aaron St. John
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