Blackberry Belle – BBC 6 Music
Album of the Day
Twilight Singers is the current project of ex-Afghan Whigs mainman Greg Dulli. The band first appeared in 1997, during a hiatus in the Afghan Whigs’ activities, but their debut album Twilight didn’t actually surface until after the Whigs’ demise in 2001.
Although Dulli’s main project, this is neither a solo record nor a traditional band. The concept is to have a flexible line-up so that Dulli can include as many or as few musicians as a particular track demands.
Twilight was initially recorded with a nucleus of Harold Chichester (Howlin’ Maggie) and Martin Barrett (Screaming Trees) and then closer to release it was reworked in Humberside with Hull’s dance-maestros, Fila Brazillia.
On Blackberry Belle there are 24 different musicians (including Mark Lanegan who adds vocals to the Pink Floyd-inspired album finale Number 9)
This album really moves the sound on from both the Whigs’ swansong 1965 and Twilight, adding a range of influences from bluegrass to metal via the Beatles (perhaps not surprising as Dulli was the singing voice of Lennon in 1994’s Backbeat film) and the Smiths.
One thing this isn’t is full of laughs – Dulli’s lyrics are characteristically blunt and angst-ridden. Sunject matter includes young lust on the single Teenage Wristband, addiction on St. Gregory and abortive relationships on “Papillon”.
But both musically and lyrically it’s deeply rewarding, revealing new depths with each listen.