buy the afghan whigs in spades

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New Album: In Spades

Powder Burns – Oregon Daily Emerald – By Matt Tiffany

Greg Dulli, frontman for The Twilight Singers, has always had the special angst indie rockers need to give their music the edge that raises them above the Yellowcards of the world. With “Powder Burns,” Dulli’s inferno is complemented, and at times exacerbated, by the location of the album’s recording: New Orleans just two and a half months after Hurricane Katrina. In his online journal, Dulli wrote that the recording studio needed generators to keep the equipment running. When most bands would pack up for higher ground, Dulli embraced the situation, and it shows.

After the album stumbles through the first track, the sexually-charged “I’m Ready,” it hits its stride with “There’s Been an Accident.” The song begins slowly, almost hypnotically, with Dulli’s smoky vocals underscored by the music until it gradually rises into a powerful crescendo. Dulli’s pain is almost palpable.

It is when Dulli embraces the pseudo-R&B/rock ‘n’ roll style that made past albums such as “Blackberry Bell” so good they bordered on spellbinding that “Powder Burns” really clicks. “Forty Dollars” and “Underneath the Waves” are the best of the bunch. But it seems that, at times, Dulli loses himself in the music and over-orchestrates the songs. It’s as if the environment was so chaotic Dulli had to surround himself with too much music to drown it out.

And while the songs on the album are hit-or-miss, the misses aren’t bad. It’s just that they don’t hold up to the songs that excel — the songs that remind everyone of why they’re glad that Dulli is the musician he is, tortured though he may be.

The album is currently available to download on iTunes; full release comes May 16.

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