1965 – CMJ
Afghan Whigs frontman Greg Dulli has always walked a very thin line between pointed self-loathing and swaggering sexual pomp.
He’s the infatuating, sneering asshole whom all the girls are tempted by despite themselves, as well as the literate, forlorn victim, a duality that supplies his tortured crooning with unequal dashes of desperation and arrogance. 1965, the Whigs’ sixth album, finds Dulli’s physical voice at its most soulful and ragged, and his lyrical one at probably its most blunt, with lustful come-ons being the album’s stock-in-trade. It’s the Dulli Whigs’ fans have come to know and love in all his self-involved glory. But despite the undeniable charisma driving his posturing, it would all turn into a cartoonish shtick if it weren’t for the band’s astounding chops. Once a boozy hurricane of ’70s rock and post-punk influences, the Whigs’ sound on 1965 finally makes good on the classic soul and R&B influences that have been flavoring the band’s work for years now, resulting in a nearly flawless marriage of rump-shakin’ rock ‘n’ roll and raw, soulful heartache. There are plenty of gooey, “ooh, baby, baby” moments here, but the Whigs are one of the few rock bands with the distinct mix of style, brains and cajones to pull off that kind of thing and still sound like they mean it.
Out: October 20
File Under: Lothario garage-soul
Right If You Like: Early Prince, the Stones’ Some Girls, Pearl Jam’s Vs.