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Twilight As Played By the Twilight Singers

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Album Review

Afghan Whigs singer Greg Dulli put together the first version of his Twilight Singers side project in New Orleans during a hiatus in his main band in 1997, then put it aside when the Whigs signed to Columbia Records and made their label debut, 1965. By the time he returned to the Twilight Singers concept, he had hooked up with the Hull, England, remix duo Fila Brazillia, and he proceeded to rethink it. The result is really two albums in one. The first four tracks and the last two adhere to Dulli's original idea, which seems to have been to trade off on vocals with Harold Chichester and Shawn Smith on folk-ambient ballads set to trip-hop beats. On these songs, the alternating singers echo some of the Band's early records, though their main inspiration seems to have been the throaty, half-spoken style of Bono on latter day U2 recordings. The middle of the album is given over to Dulli's collaborations with Fila Brazillia on more exotic dance tracks, some of which are more soundscapes than songs. (The latter recordings don't really have enough of a vocal emphasis to justify the Twilight Singers tag.) Throughout, the lyrics are dominated by images of love and death. Lead-off track "The Twilight Kid" sounds like a deathbed pronouncement to a loved one, for example, while "Love" contains the declaration, "I'd kill for you." "King Only" and "Last Temptation" extend the general subject matter to religion. But Dulli can be both vague and pretentious in his lyric writing, and when he combines it with a mannered singing style, his points seem even more belabored. Twilight As Played By the Twilight Singers works best as a mood piece and a change of pace from the more hard-rocking sound of the Afghan Whigs. (Note: though the album does not have a parental advisory sticker, "Verti-Marte" features the prominent and repeated use of a multi-syllabic obscenity.)


Formed: 1997

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Although launched as a side project during Greg Dulli's time with the Afghan Whigs, the Twilight Singers became Dulli's main band after the Whigs broke up in 2001. Dulli formed the group in 1997, while the Afghan Whigs were busy extracting themselves from a contract with their third label, Elektra. Enlisting a group of musicians -- including Harold Chichester of Howlin' Maggie, Shawn Smith of Brad, the Screaming Trees' Barrett Martin, and a group of New Orleans session players -- Dulli recorded a...
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Twilight As Played By the Twilight Singers, The Twilight Singers
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