Unbreakable – Daily Camera

Box sets and hits collections make great gifts

Most of the Afghan Whigs’ albums were such cinematic affairs — with beginnings, middles and ends — that it’s hard to imagine the band’s songs all scrambled up. Luckily, Greg Dulli and Co. manage to pull it off on this belated send-off, which stitches together 16 of their best tunes, plus a pair of songs newly recorded by the band’s final lineup.

The Whigs always were at their best mining the dark alleys of the soul, wedding the sounds of Motown and Seattle for a unique sonic imprint both grim and passionate. Unbreakable succeeds by not simply collecting the band’s singles, but, rather, presenting a series of songs that best fit that theme, from the self-loathing of “Be Sweet,” off of 1993’s gut-wrenching Gentlemen, to a creepy, downtempo take on the Supremes’ “Come See About Me.”

New songs “I’m a Soldier” and “Magazine,” as almost always is the case with these collections, are fine and fitting, yet don’t stand up to the band’s best. The Whigs really get it right, though, by closing the disc with their most ambitious pairing: “Crime Scene Part One” and “Faded,” the epic, movie-like bookends of 1996’s Black Love.

And with that, it’s a wrap. (Matt Sebastian, Camera Staff Writer) 

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