1965 – Select

The Whigs fifth album. During the recording, singer Greg Dulli managed to go missing, while guitarist Rick McCollum got arrested on the last night of Mardi Gras… They might’ve started out as a Sub Pop band, but Greg Dulli has always had aspirations to turn the Whigs into the kind of soul-revue outfit that was closer to The Temptations than Tad. But, as the filthily misanthropic Gentlemen and Black Love albums testify, he always had too many “issues” to deal with to make an unashamedly upbeat record – think “What Jail Is Like” rather than “My Girl.”

Recorded in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, and boasting string and horn sections and the obligatory female backing-singers, 1965 is the album that should finally see them working out synchronised dance arrangements.

The opening, “Something Hot,” is a funk-filled depiction of raw lust, with Dulli hollering “I want to get you high” like a twisted Sly Stone. You even get a glimpse of a previously unthought-of sense of humour – “I knew a girl, extraordinary / Suggested something unsanitary” he coos on the seedily- swinging “Neglekted.” This lighter side can extend a little too far, though – “Sweet Son Of A Bitch” is a 23-second track featuring a girl panting “excitedly”, allegedly recorded in Dulli’s flat.

Nontheless, this is a minor flaw on a record which should make the ascendancy of the world’s most unlikely funk soul brother.

4/5

John Mullen

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