Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Afghan Whigs: "Do To the Beast" (album review)

It's been sixteen long hard years since we last heard a new album from The Afghan Whigs.  On April 15th Greg Dulli and crew relieve our heartache with the release of Do To The Beast.

It doesn't take long for Dulli to confirm that he is still one of the best screaming vocalists in music as he gives a throat-shredding performance on the album opener, the alt rock blues groove "Parked Outside".

Intensity is a key characteristic of The Afghan Whigs music, and this record has it's fair share.  The churning guitar maelstrom of "Lottery" is the most obvious example, however, "It Kills" explodes quickly from it's piano introduction into full-on guitar rock a la "Be Sweet".

A couple of new twists are worked into the mix.  A funky side is unleashed on "Matamoros", making it a standout.  Later, it's the very measured, precise percussion that shines on "I Am Fire".  Dulli goes full falsetto during the refrain of "Algiers".

There is still some rust that needs to be knocked off.  "Lost In the Woods", for instance, is along the lines of the filler tracks from some of the latter day records.  "Royal Cream" has all of the incendiary hallmarks of the band's best work, but it lacks the extra little edge that could push it into the realm of something special (or "Somethin' Hot").

No one will mistake Do To The Beast for The Afghan Whigs monumental earlier work, but you can't deny that they still kick some ass.

Best tracks: "Matamoros", "Lottery"

Track listing for Do To the Beast:
  • Parked Outside
  • Matamoros
  • It Kills
  • Algiers
  • Lost In the Woods
  • Lottery
  • Can Rova
  • Royal Cream
  • I Am Fire
  • These Sticks

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