Blackberry Belle – Independent.co.uk

3/5 Stars
Independent.co.uk

Greg Dulli, formerly of The Afghan Whigs, has never been afraid of confronting the darker side, and with Blackberry Belle, his second outing as The Twilight Singers, he returns to territory similar to that he explored on the Whigs’ Black Love, which depicted a disintegrating personality torn between love and hate. Since then, things have only got worse. “I heard your woman left you/ I heard you quit your band/ How you on money?/ You still feeding that jones?” he enquires of himself in “St. Gregory”, while the album as a whole is shot through with a desperate need that can’t be satisfied, full of characters in pursuit of some experience that might justify their life, even if it kills them – like the predator who prowls through “Decatur St.” and “The Killer”, straining to reignite the “holy fire” he once felt; or the joy rider of “Teenage Wristband” who has “13 hours to burn”. The result is a grisly accident at the intersection of Desire and Despair. “Why you watch a carwreck?” Dulli asks. “Cuz it looks like fun to die.” And death is the undertow sucking away at these Songs for Swinging Nihilists, its suffocating touch evoked through the layers of pianos, guitars, clavinets and Mellotrons in the dense, muggy production, thick with smothering overtones. At times it is like King Crimson playing disco, a grand musical folly that sounds impressively wrong. Mood music for a necropolitan culture.

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