buy the afghan whigs in spades

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New Album: In Spades

Unbreakable – Allmusic Unbreakable: A Retrospective
by Andy Kellman

Unbreakable’s track list looks much like a latter-day Afghan Whigs set list, albeit one without valiant attempts at covering the Rolling Stones or Stevie Wonder. Plenty enough is provided to ensure satisfaction, but like a Whigs live set, several songs are missing in action, lost to time constraints — and, of course, since there are no visuals, you’re not going to get the odd juxtaposition of pent-up Dulli-ites moshing to ballads involving devilishly delivered lines like “‘Cause she wants love, and I still wanna f*ck,” not to mention on-stage antics suited for a DVD titled Ex-Altar Boys Gone Wild. What’s just as deserving of placement on this disc? A wide assortment of anthology-worthy material that, as effectively as the content included, contains a wicked mixture of desire, lust, lechery, hate, and regret. Among the missing and worthy are “You My Flower,” “Band of Gold,” “My Enemy,” “Honky’s Ladder,” “Somethin’ Hot,” and all the unincluded songs from Congregation and Gentlemen; any 80 random minutes from Up in It through 1965 are likely to pull up a set that’s every bit as pleasurable as this one, despite the wrongness that comes with breaking up two front-to-back works of genius. Two inclusions were recorded by a briefly reunited 1965-era lineup: “I’m a Soldier,” despite its uncharacteristic subject matter, sounds characteristically sleazy, while “Magazine” slinks and pulses along without reaching true lift-off. The non-chronological sequencing works to the band’s advantage, covering up a gradual development of overambitiousness and increased reliance on trite come-ons. (“Come on and taste me/Come on and take me” is no “If I stepped it off, walked outside your trance/Crawled inside your mind and got my hand inside your pants.”) Hopefully Rhino — or Rhino’s Handmade division — will eventually make a box containing all the albums, (mostly excellent) EP and single tracks, and (often graphically extreme) videos. This band’s catalog is filled with blackhearted soul carrying a swashbuckling swagger that no other band — including Dulli’s Twilight Singers — could possibly touch, and all of it should be left to circulate as much as possible.

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