The Twilight Singers

Dynamite Steps

Written by: TL on 26/02/2011 23:57:21

While these days, some may ignorantly consider the name "The Twilight Singers" a bit silly, due to the pop-cultural canonization of a certain franchise of cinematic garbage, those in the know will recognize the band as one that has been around before movies made mockeries of vampires, and as one lead by a man who has been around since before many of us even got into music.

Famed for his work in the reknowned, defunct 90's band The Afghan Whigs, front-figure Greg Dulli is a man that has continued making critically acclaimed music in the new millenium, not only with The Twilight Singers, but also in collaboration with Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees and more) in the band known as The Gutter Twins. In all honesty though, I know only of this 90's history by way of research, as "Dynamite Steps", the band's fifth LP, is the first Twilight Singers record I've gotten around to checking out, after seeing the bandname mentioned with reverence in various places.

Having listened to "Dynamite Steps" however, I can't say that I'm surprised to learn that it is the work of men of experience, as my foremost impression of it, is that it is infinitely more mature, than the vast majority of material that is produced in an industry that is as obsessed with youth as is our world at large. Confidently wielding elements from a seemingly extensive musical tool-box, Dulli and his crew paint with great nuance and vividity, an immersive, gloomy soundscape, resting on a foundation of dark piano chords and soulful guitars. At the center of it all is the man himself, singing passionately and charismatically, throwing his voice around expertly while adding tasteful blue notes on many occasions.

When things really add up, like in the openers "Last Night In Town" and "Be Invited" as well as centre pieces "On The Corner" and "Gunshots", a dark beauty is obtained the likes of which my young life has not afforded me to previously encounter. In these moments, I find myself eager to acquire the band's entire discography and do whatever else I can to secure myself a seat on their bandwagon, and even outside of them, "Dynamite Steps" generally feels like an album that can keep giving for quite a while.

That being said, there are times in between highs when I manage to get myself together and regain my critical footing, and during these periods, I get the feeling that this record might be just a little bit too content. Some times, the songs sound like they're confidently and comfortably exploring nooks and crannies of the band's sound, rather than making an ambitious push to make this the best Twilight Singers album yet. Truthfully, I do feel like I'm grasping at straws saying so, but it's the best rationale I can provide, when ultimately I guess it's all gut feeling that decides what particular grade I assign to an album I'd prefer to just call "unquestionably good".


Download: On The Corner, Gunshots, Be Invited, Last Night In Town
For The Fans Of: The National, The Twilight Sad, The Afghan Whigs, The Gutter Twins

Release Date 14.02.2011
Sub Pop

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