New York Bowery Ballroom

When Greg Dulli conceived of the Twilight Singers, he was almost certainly in the bedroom...

When Greg Dulli conceived of the Twilight Singers, he was almost certainly in the bedroom. These are songs for soft-focus evenings, yawning with arrogant bitterness and soft-bellied vulnerability and no amount of ambient lighting can disguise the fact that they’d be better appreciated somewhere more [I]comfortable[/I].

The Twilight Singers’ torchsong-tinged understatement is something Dulli felt he couldn’t do within the context of a rock band, even one as sensitive to soul as Afghan Whigs, and it’s easy to see why. The songs trace emotional meltdown and slow redemption, and in order for them to reach their full potential they must be part of a total concept. Hence Dulli’s choice to work with old friends in New Orleans before allowing Fila Brazilla to add a glaze of modern production to the album. Of the album’s players, only Howlin’ Maggie’s Harold Chichester is present – on keyboards and hideous upholstery trousers – but the continuity of the project holds tight. Dulli’s voice, is counterbalanced by Chichester’s falsetto as they trace their way from the thematic opening of ‘Twilite Kid’, to the cripplingly forlorn ‘Annie Mae’ and equally desperate ‘Into The Street’. It’s an opportunity for Dulli to revel in “big indulgences”, so there’s also a Skip Spence cover and a rendition of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Please Stay…’. He belts out a snippet of Moby’s ‘Honey’ before offering a Whigs tune in the form of a beefed-up ‘Crazy’. By the time he returns for ‘Love’, the audience are romanced into submission.

Greg Dulli has always wanted to be both rock star and soul singer. Looks like he’s finally achieved his dream.

April Long