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A Stitch In Time – Twisted Ear

Twisted Ear – 4/5

When Mark Lanegan drawls his way through the dark, sleazy blues of Live With Me, the opening song on the Twilight Singers’ new EP A Stitch in Time, you just can’t resist. There’s something hackle-raising and sinister about the erstwhile Screaming Tree – his onstage gravitas, the shadowy gloom of his deep baritone, his troubled past – that makes him all the more compelling. He’s one of those people that you can’t take your eyes (well, ears) off, and this is a sombre, powerful way to introduce an EP; never has a Massive Attack song sounded quite so, well, foreboding.

A Stitch in Time is a follow-up of sorts, coming after the Twilight Singers’ last full-length, Powder Burns, which was released to critical acclaim in the spring. Lanegan joined the band on tour in the UK over the summer for live shows that earned rave reviews, and this collection of songs features some of those that were so well-received live.

Twilight Singers main man Greg Dulli sings the lead on second track Sublime, which is warm and lazily seductive, with Joseph Arthur on guest vocals and a woozy guitar solo spilling out over skittering drum-machine beats. Then Lanegan reappears on another cover, Flashback (by digital dub-reggae septet Fat Freddy’s Drop), where he duets with Dulli over a fat, pulsating bassline. They Ride, co-written with Dulli’s former Afghan Whigs cohort Rick McCollum, is propelled by jangly guitars and a low-key, swaggering rhythms that recall those halcyon days when the US independent rock scene was so fresh and exciting.

The Lure Would Prove Too Much closes the set, a widescreen epic of a song that spirals towards a climax of atmospheric pedal steel guitar, rich harmonies and sampled snippets of answerphone messages. It’s a fitting end to an engaging, seductive collection of songs, and bodes well for the release of the long-awaited album from the Gutter Twins, a side-project that Lanegan and Dulli have been working on for some time. That LP is slated for an early 2007 release, so keep ’em peeled.

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