The Twilight Singers - Dynamite Steps
The Afghan Whigs are one of the world’s great lost bands. Often, and unfairly, tagged with the Grunge tag, they released a series of the some of the best rock albums of that - or any era - to great critical acclaim, but the huge success of other, less worthy acts eluded them until, finally they called it a day 2001. Front man Greg Dulli has continued to plough a criminally underrated furrow with first The Twilight Singers and latterly as one half of The Gutter Twins with another great rock ‘n’ roll survivor, Mark Lanegan.
Returning to The Twilight Singers for their first album in six years could have been a let down but, whisper it gently, Dulli may have produced the best, most complete album of his long and illustrious career. ‘Last Night In Town’ sets the scene perfectly with a near perfect build from a gentle piano intro, to Dulli’s breathless drawl right through to a brilliant guitar break and classic crescendo that is so good you can’t help but wonder if the bolt has been shot way too early. But the dark and sleazy ‘Be Invited’ soon wipes such thoughts from your mind with its understated guest spots from Lanegan and ex-Verve man Nick McCabe providing a perfect foil to Dulli’s laconic delivery. It would have been be easy give a gushing description of each and every song while overlooking the impact of the other Twilight Singers. The brilliant guitar work of Dave Rosser, bass of Scott Ford and assorted drummers along with several other guests play just as much a part of this album’s success as that of Dulli himself.
As you pore over every nook and cranny of this wonderful album there is the feeling that that Dulli has managed to capture the sense of world-weariness and optimism that pervade so many aspects of modern life. As the final chords of the title track fade away there can be no doubt that Dynamite Steps is a stunning piece of work worthy of placing alongside the best of Dulli’s career and, considering the quality of the Afghan Whigs’ canon, that is simply astonishing. If you buy only one album this year make it this one - you won’t be disappointed.