Powder Burns – Subba-Cultcha

Afghan Whigs Greg Dulli pulls out the dirge for an autobiographical pain-fest.
By Ross Breadmore | Subba-Cultcha

The fourth album from the Twilight Singers, Powder Burns sees former Afghan Whig Greg Dulli treating an addictive personality the best way musicians do, by putting words to his troughs and adding musical peaks. Running the spectrum of drug, sex and musical obsession, Dulli injects as much feeling as possible into every track, without ever sounding self-obsessed or congratulatory, if anything the overall impression is of an intelligent man turning a negative experience into a truly cathartic, exhilarating one.

Second track I’m Ready sets the tone with triumphant riffage and stone-baked vocals, and is never as sickening as the title would suggest, and this is quickly followed by the slower, more deliberate Bonnie Brae – a track that’s displays the unclouding of Dulli’s life as he withdrew from drugs. Elsewhere, he exposes himself further on Candy Cane Crawl, featuring Ani DiFranco amongst others, and goes all out on the title track, a wonderfully epic and heartfelt admission. In places, his honesty comes off a little cheesy, My Time steals a Cameo beat and never really recovers, but all in all Powder Burns is a brave work by a talented man – the quality on display isn’t surprising given previous form, but the clarity is a welcome change.

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