buy the afghan whigs in spades

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New Album: In Spades

She Loves You – Stylus

Reviewed by: Scott McKeating

For an album steeped in love and longing, She Loves You is strangely lacking the spark that makes great friends into it-was-meant-to-be lovers. God knows I’ve been waiting long enough for a Dulli covers record to turn up. And it probably suffers from the expectation that came with it: this record could’ve gone a million ways and featured a thousand different songs. On paper it looked like a great lay, the band finally putting their voluminous live interpolations onto tape.

But, and it’s hard to believe, being a dedicated Twilight Singers and Afghan Whigs fan, Dulli’s turned in a record lacking in a substantial amount of soul, grit and sensuality. Even the inspired mash-up of “Strange Fruit” and “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” sounds dry and lacklustre instead of pained and gigantically dark. If any modern vocalist has a voice for the blues it’s Mark Lanegan and yet “Hard Time Killing Floor” lacks an authentic weary depth that the lyrics demand. Similarly, the attempt at Bjork’s “Hyperballad” doesn’t try to either reinvent the lyric into a new experience or switch up the melody, leading to, at best, disinterest.

It’s the pounding cover of Martina Topley-Bird and David Holmes’ collaboration “Too Tough to Die” that defiantly cries out like The Bad Seeds on cheap house red wine covering “I Will Survive” and it’s one of the few songs to pull this release back from being a completely inessential wash-out. Its worth noting that with this, the album’s second track and intimate opener “Feeling of Gaze”, the band (like men are often wont to do) start things off with an initial satisfying thrill. It soon passes, revealing their very average true personality. Case in point, his early 2004 touring band call on their live chemistry to turn out a very Whig-like merging of “A Love Supreme” and Marvin Gaye’s “Please Stay (Once you go Away)” with Jagger-esque “Whoo Whoo”s, high ended duelling guitars and a lulled lounge vibe.

Dulli’s live shows have always contained a lot of snippets of songs amongst the originals and full covers, and recent tours have seen him expertly tackling Kate Bush, Clapton, Blue Oyster Cult and Outkast (“Hey Ya” to roof raising effect). Taking the time to make a few more obvious choices and spending a little time aiming to please others instead of going down such a personal route of love and regret would’ve made this a much more enjoyable listen to return to.

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