Powder Burns – Gigwise

Gigwise.com – by Mark Perlaki

3 Stars

Having gone his own meandering way, Greg Dulli who cut loose from ‘Afghan Whigs’ some five years ago has netted this his fourth album under the name of ‘The Twilight Singers’. ‘Powder Burns’ comes across as a soundtrack for Harley-riding freeway music, without the helmet. Its free-spirited and affirmative, a particularly U.S. spangled version of alt-rock joined by back-up singers such as Joseph Arthur and Ani DiFranco, Greg with a voice at times most like The Verve’s Richard Ashcroft or Alabama 3’s Robert Love when gruff.

‘I’m Ready’ shows with gusto that Greg has a body of work to get across (like the U.S. has a mite work cut out in the Middle-East) and charts the skies like a B52 bomber – the bomb-drop blast chorus – “…I’m ready/ I’m ready/ to lorrrve somebody…” admidst the chugging bass, pounding piano-keys and thrusting-at-ya-guitars. No peace for the wicked of mind with ‘Underneath The Waves’ and ‘Bonnie Brae’ which strides into the firm-footed groovy number ‘Forty Dollars’ with its muted-vocal – “..mingy dog without a collar/ find me love/ for forty dollars/ I got love for sale/ come on get some before it gets stale…”, one of the highlights with just the right amount of grunge and sweat on the brow, and the nabbed “…she loves you yeah yeah yeah…” from you know where.

‘Candy Cane Crawl’, ‘Dead To Rights’ and ‘The Conversation’ prove a let-up to the frenetic work out with a mellowness, soothing piano and rhythmical guitars, bare-naked coherency and confessional pleas in the delivery such as ‘The Conversation’ with – “…three can keep a secret if two are dead and gone…” the slide-guitar and 6-string delicate and a well-versed quartet, plus the magic of Joseph Arthur in the soft-light. Title track ‘Powder Burns’ has all the anthemic qualities and lights blazing with nifty orchestration and strong tidal currents in the rhytms – “…a cigarette/ the fuse is lit…”.

‘Powder Burns’ has just the right amount of calming let-ups to bring things to appreciation levels where at times it feels like its going to be a full-on sonic assault by a wall of sound from chugging-guitars. Greg proves masterly at economical songwriting and confident in his genre. There’s great tracks to nab for your i-pod, or just play the whole thing and take out the Harley for a whirl.

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