Powder Burns – Reno Gazette
Four stars (out of four)
On “Powder Burns,” Greg Dulli’s The Twilight Singers present an accessible, cohesive classic while exploring Dulli’s struggle with demons of addiction.
Dulli’s mastery of his voice has reached new heights, from the smooth, then pained vocals on “There’s Been Accident” to the emotionless, filtered disillusionment of “Forty Dollars,” which, according to thetwilightsingers.com, Dulli wrote in a such a drug haze that he doesn’t even remember writing the song, with its hard, bitter truth that sometimes “love don’t mean a thing/but two a.m. and a telephone ring.”
“Bonnie Brae,” with its stripped down beginning and ending, offers the hard-earned realization that when it comes to addiction, “if she’s your master/then get down on your knees and beg for more/i’m not saying it’s easier/to live your life like her little whore.”
In “The Conversation,” Dulli shows once again that he is a forger of the metropolitan blues, possessing the passion and depth of the past while lifting it into the 21st century. The song, with its acoustic guitar and soft vocals, offers a tinge of ghostly gospel as violin mixes with the self-awareness of the corrupt: “as i walked the streets/the devil tumbled down like rain.”
“I Wish I Was,” with its cool jazz trumpet and woven, soft vocals, almost matches “The Conversation” in smooth, quiet intensity.
“Powder Burns” is a testament that brilliant work can come from pain. Perhaps Dulli will put his demons to rest, but music lovers should be forgiven if they hope he doesn’t fully succeed.
– RIYL: The Afghan Whigs; Screaming Trees
— Samuel Gaytan, Reno Gazette-Journal