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Saturnalia – Hofstra Chronicle

The Gutter Twins’ latest album was worth the wait
By Tim Lee
Hailed initially, albeit by themselves, as the “Satanic Everly Brothers,” the Gutter Twins finally delivered their long-awaited full length, “Saturnalia.” The group pairs the duo of Greg Dulli (Afghan Whigs, Twilight Singers) and Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age) in an early 90s grunge super group, or wet dream. Luckily or not, depending upon one’s sensibility, both artists have matured lyrically and musically leading up to the record.

With a clearly defined pedigree, it was fairly certain how cut and dry “Saturnalia” would sound, even before the first listen. Dulli’s ethyl soaked croon, sounds like history’s deepest falsetto next to Lanegan’s fathoms deep growl. Living up to their own billing, and all reasonable expectation, Lanegan and Dulli deliver a release that’s two parts goth and 10 parts soul.

The light (Dulli) and dark (Lanegan) dichotomy is the napalm for “Saturnalia’s” flames. From the first listen, “Saturnalia” crackles in the speakers and songs about love, lust, damnation and redemption (however scarce) are stuck in the listener’s head. Clinging to their sinister claims, the Gutter Twins are devilishly clever songwriters, churning out songs that are equally dense as they are catchy.

Listeners might find it hard to picture themselves singing along with Dulli on the opening track “The Stations” as he sings, “I hear the rapture’s coming; they say he’ll be here soon/ Right now there’s demons crawling all around my room,” yet after one listen, they’ll be humming it for days.

It may be perhaps pre-mature to anoint “Saturnalia” as 2008’s best anything, but it is far more than likely that it will be near the top of many lists come December. There’s something exceedingly dark and troubling behind “Saturnalia’s” infectious charm. A tangible darkness hangs over each note of each melody. The listener will at times want to dance, while at others, crawl under the nearest set of covers and hide.

This is rock ‘n roll at it’s best and most damning. “Saturnalia” is exactly what one would expect form the self proclaimed “Satanic Everly Brothers”. To sum it up in three words: Get Saturnalia NOW!

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