Blackberry Belle – Bang Magazine

Bang Magazine/UK

By JENNIFER NINE

Five Stars

Absence makes the heart grow fonder but, musically speaking, even favourite
sons’ comebacks are usually loved for old time’s sake . . . and only played
twice.

Astonishingly, charismatic gutter-and-stars poet Greg Dulli ? late of
bruised-black-hearted rebels Afghan Whigs ? isn’t making mere remember-whens with The Twilight Singers. Instead, he’s producing the best music of his
sin-and-salvation career, with cohorts ranging from Apollonia Kotero to
ex-Screaming Tree and QOTSA collaborator Mark Lanegan.

So go tell ’em all: this is a widescreen, sinuous, tender and sick-at-heart
sweep through nightworld’s emotional wreckage. And it’s dazzling: deadbeat
funk (‘Decatur St.’), piano-laced tragedies (‘Fat City (Slight Return)’),
beat-driven innuendo (‘St Gregory’), yowling gimme-some-gospel lust
(‘Teenage Wristband’), improbable banjos (loping work-of-genius ‘Papillon’),
and, of course, those Dulli-trademark clipped soul guitars (‘Feathers’).
Were the Whigs ever this supple and diverse, assured and wise? You’ll
struggle to remember. Sure, it’s late in the day and late in the year, but
Blackberry Belle is the kind of keeper you compile Top Ten lists for.
*****

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