The Afghan Whigs – Do to the Beast
The Afghan Whigs might sound more like a concept than a band, but they are very real having been in the music industry for over two decades. Forming in 1986 they broke up in 2001 and vowed never to return. However, much to their fans’ delight, they reformed in 2012. This is their first album since their reunion.
Opening track Parked Outside dives head first into a big guitar riff as lead singer Greg Dulli wails “you’re gonna make me break down and cry”. The contrast of Dulli’s almost muted voice with the loud guitar balances the track but at times sounds like he’s struggling to hit the notes.
The album takes a tender turn that turns into an outdated sound; Algeirs wouldn’t be out of place on VH1 Classics. There is an attempt to blend their rock guitar skills with a modern feel but it sounds as though they’re not convinced of their direction. There’s a lot less soul musically and emotionally than their renowned album 1965.
Some tracks are still heartfelt, and the introduction of violins, drums and organs give Matamoros and Royal Cream more substance and a refreshingly sinister sound. Throughout the record there are references to blood, stitching, cutting and other gore suggesting that this record was painful to make, however these tracks are the most authentic.
The end of the album picks up with more mellow tracks like I Am Fire and These Sticks, which build throughout and hit the highs that The Afghan Whigs can. There’s a beautiful rawness to these songs that reflects the no-fuss approach they’ve adopted for their comeback.
These guys haven’t been around since the 90s and the influence is still there. In today’s synth pop culture where a duet with David Guetta guarantees you a top ten hit, how will they fare? We’ll have to wait and see.
Do to the Beast was released on 14th April 2014, for further information or to order the album visit here.
Watch the video for Algiers here: