Amber Headlights – Junk Media
Shelved following the death of friend Ted Demme in 2002, the latest set from former Aghan Whig Greg Dulli sounds typically vibrant despite its age. Amber Headlights is the second record Dulli recorded after the dissolution of the Whigs in 2001. Several releases in the meantime (some of which pillaged from material included in this set) illustrate that it should be no surprise that Dulli’s distinctive narrative voice and sound survive here.
In fact, Amber Headlights has clear thematic and structural parallels to the Afghan Whigs’ excellent 1996 rock opera Black Love. Both albums, rife with big distorted guitars and Dulli’s tortured howl, hang story arcs on cycles of seduction, lust, violence and redemption that strike a decidedly cinematic pace while chasing climax and resolution. Additionally, both sets make a point to reprise themes, as Amber Headlights does in the song couplet “Cigarettes” and “Get The Wheel.” These two songs feature a hook Dulli has used at least three times – fans of Dulli’s Twilight Singers project will recognize it as the germ of the song “Follow You Down” from 2003’s Blackberry Belle. Indeed, it seems the strength of the Amber Headlights material was too potent for Dulli to ignore long, as at least one other track, “Domani,” has already made it into the racks. The set does prompt a gnawing question: while Dulli releases more material than most, could he been sitting on other equally compelling gems?