In Spades

Afghan Whigs

Sub Pop, 2017

http://theafghanwhigs.com

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/10/2017

Well, here we are, The Afghan Whigs is back with a scaled-down lineup and a soulful record to boot. Some might even say this could be the proper follow-up to 1996’s eerie and atmospheric Black Lovemy_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 . Kicking things off with the cello-driven “Birdland,” Greg Dulli and company are back to prove that their more than just a run of the mill rock and roll band.

There’s definitely a ‘70s soul influence on “Arabian Heights” that works well musically. But “Toy Automatic” is a brief song that doesn’t really have enough time to do anything notable. It just kind of sits there and refuses to do anything to impress.

If you’re a fan of the more rockin’ Afghans, then this might not be the disc for you. But on songs like “Oriole,” which is a slow, mournful, wonderfully sung track, one can’t be anything but impressed. This is definitely a highlight and a song destined to get multiple repeats.

“The Spell” is okay, though it is almost too orchestral for my liking. The bass track on “Light As A Feather” immediately reminded me of “Gentlemen” and it really took me back. It’s a great track and gives a great feeling, easily one of the best moments here. Meanwhile, the rock comes back on “Copernicus,” a decent cut that’s got great swing to it. The poignant “I Got Lost” deals with guitarist Dave Rosser’s inoperable cancer and what it means to Dulli and the band. Album closer “Into The Floor” brings everything around full circle: it’s orchestral, rocking, and soulful, everything together in one package.

While for me personally, this isn’t as great a record as Do To The Beast or Gentlemen, most Whigs fans will probably might rank this disc in the top echelon of the band’s discography.

Rating: B

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