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A Stitch in Time – Left of the Dial

Left of the Dial Magazine
Mark Lanegan shows up yet again, this time visiting the songs of The Twilight Singers, with seductive loin-warmer, liquor and licorice brother Greg Dulli of the Afghan Wigs at the helm, though Lanegan (like on his earlier visitations on “Blackberry Belle”) seems to offer a full-throated, geyser-voiced approach on this outing compared to the minor miracle on the Baldwin Brothers album. In fact, Lanegan has joined them on the band’s fall tour. The dark and dreary “Live with Me” (a Massive Attack cover) is almost too somber; luckily, the “light of dawn” and “blues” face-off until some kind of hope prevails, despite the potential loss and craziness. “Nothing’s right without you here,” he sings, for he is willing to give everything, even putting pen to paper, to make the sincere gesture towards reconciliation and bonding. Yet, through it all, there’s an acknowledgement that he has been a schemer, and even though he wants to make everything right, there might be a million ways in which it could all derail, but even that is better than the aloneness that pervades him like dynamite and dust. It’s a strange song of longing in which all the weakness turns out to be strength in some sense.

The soulful “Sublime” doesn’t stray too far from the same formula, finding a midway point between the aural archives of 1990s U2 and Wolfgang Press. There’s a nod to funk drumming and dark waves of lyrical need and want, each word feeling like a dusk-colored flame flickering into a landscape of slow drinks under an alabaster moon, while on “Flashback” (another cover, this time by Fast Freddys Drop) the singer admits “I lose myself in you.” Each relationship is a calendar of small turmoil and triumph, each moment waiting for a touch becomes a globe circumnavigated by a woman’s finger that is so otherworldy that men spend hours trying to understand why they shake and shiver under the gauzy gaze of the female sex. “They Ride” is a big guitar, big music, hip-swing swaggering, slow-turning investigation of those hiding in corners looking for something they can feel, while some need a singer to give shape to the dark abodes in their dreams. The early Funkadelic-esque guitar solo hits your cerebrum like brief interludes with hallucinatory mushrooms. In turn, the acoustic and ambrosia-laced “The Lure Would Prove Too Much” nudges slowly and nestles down until rising in a panoramic symphonic soar, bits and pieces of cell phone/answering machine detritus marking the places where words and intention collide in a plea for meaning in a shaky, unsure world of much meandering.

Worth two and a half potato chip.

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