The Twilight Singers, Twilight as played by The Twilight Singers (Columbia): One might theorize that Afghan Whigs leader Greg Dulli scared himself when he came up with his masterpiece, the searing Gentlemen, way back in 1993. Since that exhilarating and brutally honest examination of gender relations and the perversity of the male psyche, Dulli and the Whigs have produced consistently excellent work, though nothing to top that high-water mark (perhaps, to be fair, nothing could). Meanwhile the singer-songwriter himself has gone from one trauma to the next: depression, stomach ailments and drug problems a la Kurt Cobain, injuries sustained from barroom altercations, and so on. On this side project, however, Dulli, expertly aided by Whigs alumnus and Howlin' Maggie frontman Harold Chichester, finally stops raging against the darkness and makes his peace with it instead. Eschewing the more raucous, cathartic moments typical of the Whigs, Twilight as played by The Twilight Singers is all about atmosphere, laden with nocturnally jazzy, trip-hop flavored musical settings verging at times on the ambient. Lyrically, we find an uncharacteristically subdued Dulli musing, "I fell far enough to touch the hand of Lucifer / stripped of all his glory" ("King Only"), yet still able to end the proceedings with the simple, upbeat proclamation, "Everything's gonna be alright" ("Twilight"). An album that expands with repeated listenings, Twilight as played by The Twilight Singers is an inspired journey off the beaten musical path. It sounds like the second masterpiece of Greg Dulli's brilliant career. — Johnny Walker (Black)

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