Powder Burns – Popboks.com
American alternative Country crooner Gene Clark wrote the following lyrics more than 30 years ago: “ We all need a fix at a time like this / But doesn’t it feel good to stay alive”. These days GD celebrates this simple fact – staying alive, offering an album that should not be missed, as a confirmation of his doubtless talent.
After their breakup in 2001, very few AW diehards were optimistic about Dulli’s new musical adventure TS. Serious turn to soul and black music in general, more intimate depiction of long night hours together with the accent on sexuality (already quite present on AW last album 1965) combined with at the time massively popular trip hop & downbeats simply bothered “the righteous ones”, who believed that the power & emotional honesty is directly proportionate to the number of strained vocal cords. However, the same way AW never attempted to inherit grunge, Dulli turned out not to be an author who would try to prove his individuality by rewriting his own self. On the contrary, fortunately those who understood this now have an opportunity to follow the most beautiful vision of r’n’r today.
TS originally started as an unpretentious collaboration with Harold Chichester (Howlin’ Maggie) & Shawn Smith (Satchel, Pigeonhead) back in the AW days, and over time turned into a fluent group of musicians (accompanied with the ever intriguing Mark Lanegan also involved with Dulli in their Gutter Twins project), but also into a very logical continuation from the place where AW stopped. And truly, continuing the upstream with every new album, TS today have all the qualities that underlined the best work of AW: rock foundation, charge, passion, drama, destruction, melancholy mixed with the overexposed hedonism, somewhat pompous machismo together with a fine combination or romance and unhidden libido…all the things that make Dulli proudly retain the title of the “da man”. With strong fists & soft heart.
Partially recorded in the post-apocalyptic atmosphere of a ghostly New Orleans (Dullis favorite city), in which tortured city cowboys partake in “guilty pleasures” this fourth TS album is a purebred r’n’r record, on which GD revisits the demons from the past. Sex, drugs and r’n’r may be a cliché, but not for such deeply intimate songwriter who’s looking back, yet remains mysterious enough to keep the truth to himself. Starting with the opening Toward the Waves which switches to explosive I’m Ready with lyrics “I hope I see you out tonight and I hope we get it on”, he’s passionate to the point of creating a physical excitement, whether he sings about addiction (Bonnie Brae, Forty Dollars, Powder Burns), or pictures himself as an extreme romantic, or just a baller.
The return to the classic rock formula is particularly obvious in stadium ready There’s Been an Accident, before mentioned 40 Dollars (where naïve quotes of The Beatles “Love is all you need” & “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah” are mixed with sour feelings of a renegade – “We go underground, ‘cos there’s emptiness above”. Final diamonds on this album are Candy Cane Crawl a melancholic soul worthy of sleepless nights when everything crosses your mind (with brilliant backing vocals by Ani DiFranco), and almost chilling cry in the title song Powder Burns.
On this precious album TS have married the primal urge of youth with the life experience, and assured us that their time is yet to come. This is a mandatory listen for this year.