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Album review: The Twilight Singers' 'Dynamite Steps'

February 15, 2011 |  3:45 pm

Twilightsingers “I’ve come to take you under,” Greg Dulli sings at the top of the powerful new album by his sometimes-local lounge-noir outfit. That’s the kind of threat-slash-promise Dulli’s been making for a quarter-century now, first as frontman of the Afghan Whigs, then with the Twilight Singers and the Gutter Twins, the intermittent avant-blues duo he shares with Mark Lanegan of Screaming Trees. Whatever name Dulli is working under, his creative project stays the same: providing an opposition to indie rock’s sensitive-male majority.

A purposely murky stew of keyboards, strings and slow-motion soul grooves, “Dynamite Steps” contains plenty more where that early line came from: “I’ll show you things that you’ve never seen,” Dulli croons with typical lasciviousness in “Blackbird and the Fox”; later, “The Beginning of the End” finds him simply declaring, “I do what I want to.”

Yet in several songs here, Dulli subtly disrupts that portrayal of alpha-male entitlement by pushing his voice well beyond its limits: When he unveils a shaky falsetto in “Last Night in Town,” for instance, we get a glimpse of the self-doubt buried deep within a guy who claims in “She Was Stolen” to know where sinking stones go.

-- Mikael Wood

The Twilight Singers
“Dynamite Steps”
Sub Pop
Three stars (out of four)

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