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Amber Headlights – Blogcritics

Michael Benning

In 2001 things were uncertain for Greg Dulli, former frontman for the quasi-grung rock outfit The Afghan Whigs. He had released one Twilight Singers album, and was working on a solo collection of songs reflecting where he had been, and where he would like to go. Those tracks were shelved after the sudden death of his good friend, filmmaker Ted Demme, and were unreleased until now. Greg Dulli’s Amber Headlights, released on his own Infernal Recordings label, encompasses those unique and occasionally brilliant works in progress.

Dulli has worked with a number of great musicians in the past. This outing is no different. John Curley, Jerome Dillon, Bobby Macintyre, and Petra Haden all provide considerable musical talent to Amber Headlights.

Nine tracks in total make for a short and satisfying listen. Some songs, “So Tight,” “Cigarettes,” and “Domani,” are the standard fare Dulli rock, taking you up and down with a raucus love sentimentality. Others, “Black Swan” and “Pussywillow,” take a different direction, occasionally allowing Dulli to share the microphone with Petra Haden. These songs in particular are intriguing not only for their sweet and soulful qualities, but also because of their sing-along vocal arrangements.

While the majority of Amber Headlights is on par with Dulli’s songwriting caliber, some tracks, while interesting, come across as deflated versions of their true potential. “Get The Wheel” closes out at under two minutes. While the song itself is beautiful, a full stretch would have been nice. “Golden Boy” feels like an unfinished mix, while “Pussywillow,” a nice standout track, could have used some finishing touches on the vocals.

Amber Headlights, in the end, stands as a nice addition to any Dulli fan’s collection. While short and small in its offering, it still manages to impress repeatedly. Despite being a few years in the making, this disk still leaves the listener wondering where Dulli’s musical future lies.

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