Powder Burns – !earshot
It’s difficult to summarize Power Burns, the fourth album from Greg Dulli’s post-Afghan Whigs group, the Twilight Singers. It seems, more often than not, that the album simply shouldn’t work. The production seems too momentous for the material; the sound edges the music into sonic territory that befits goth or hard rock more than the vaguely soulful alt rock that the Singers create. Yet by the end of the record everything seems to make more sense, as if acclimatization simply takes a little longer. It takes a few tracks to notice that Dulli’s voice actually matches the production, if only because he clearly means it; it’s emotional but not emo, and his conviction seems to skim off the curds where the cheese could rise. No one sounds quite like the Twilight Singers, so it’s hard to compare them to anyone other than the Whigs, which wouldn’t be entirely accurate, either. “I’m Ready” kicks off with chugging guitars and minor keys; “There’s Been An Accident” begins with piano and a swoop of moody strings, culminating in a Big Chorus that ought to sound overwrought but doesn’t. Lord knows what Dulli’s doing; in other musicians’ hands, it would sound like proto-goth inspired bar rock. Instead, it’s simply The Twilight Singers, and it works. Recommended, even if it’s difficult exactly explain why.
By James Hayashi-Tennant