Thursday, February 24, 2011

Twilight Singers Take Dynamite Steps

Greg DulliSinger/songwriter Greg Dulli, former frontman for the Afghan Whigs, loves side projects. His pairing with longtime pal, singer Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age), put him under the Gutter Twins banner. But then there's The Twilight Singers.

The Twilight Singers is a band with a rotating roster of members who perform with Dulli. You would never know it. It has just as much cohesion as any band out there.

The newest release is Dynamite Steps, the fifth album since the Twilight Singers first made an appearance in 2000 with the CD Twilight As Played By the Twilight Singers. What makes Dynamite Steps especially worthwhile is that it looks like Dulli's side project will become his primary focus.

The lineup is hot. Released by Sub Pop Records, the guest list includes appearances by Lanegan, Ani DiFranco, and Nick McCabe (The Verve). It was produced by Dulli.

Dynamite Steps is a dark album, rife with dark tales, and equally dark music.

The new album is indicative of everything that happened since the band's last release, Powder Burns, in 2006. Powder Burns almost paid homage to excess. But the new darkness makes Dynamite Steps arguably Dulli’s best work to date.

He’s just as charismatic and literate, and his pained, yet seductive voice is sublime. He takes listeners through songs that “explore the thin line between life and death, mortality and immortality, resignation and celebration.” On the Corner is one of them.

On The Corner, with its driving piano, isn't the only winner. Most of the songs on the album are quiet, stripped down, yet soulful.

Two other tunes that stand out are Blackbird And The Fox, an excellent duet with DiFranco; and Get Lucky, a confessional that is as close to a power ballad as the Twilight Singers get. Be Invited is not to be missed either. It's a duet with Lanegan, which would have fit perfectly on the Gutter Twins’ acclaimed Saturnalia CD. But I'm glad it's here.

In all, Dynamite Steps includes an 11-song journey of highs and lows, but all of it is filled with passion and redemption. It's a journey well worth taking. And it might even make the Twilight Singers a more permanent attraction to look forward to.

Dynamite Steps By The Twilight Singers Hits With An 8.5 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

The Twilight Singers world tour begins in March 2011 with concerts scheduled throughout Europe and the United States. Touring with Dulli will be special guests Margo & The Nuclear So & So's, a riveting band in their own right. You can track them on Facebook.

Dynamite Steps by The Twilight Singers is on iTunes. You can also find Dynamite Steps on Amazon. There is also a limited vinyl edition.
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