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Saturnalia – The Independent

Via The Independent
4/5 Stars – Reviewed by Andy Gill

The Gutter Twins are Mark Lanegan and Greg Dulli, an alliance that might cause their rehab counsellors concern, but which the rest of us should celebrate for the dark elegance of Saturnalia.

The sound is heady and miasmic, with layers of guitars, keyboards and strings balanced on rolling rhythms, hedging in the listener in the same claustrophobic manner of Dulli’s Twilight Singers, while their sombre baritones convey a kind of fatalistic momentum. It’s like Marilyn Manson except with melodies and grace instead of pantomime outrage.

“The Stations” is typical, Lanegan admitting “There by the grace of God go I” while the arrangement builds rapidly through increments of organ, cello and harmonium, peaking with a strident guitar. Elsewhere Martina Topley-Bird’s shadowy harmonies lend depth to “The Body”, while “long-dead animals” stalk Lanegan’s bid for salvation in “BĂȘte Noire” and “Seven Stories Underground”, both of which recall the much-missed Comsat Angels.

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