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Blackberry Belle

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Album Review

Greg Dulli returns to his Twilight Singers project with the atmospheric Blackberry Belle. This time around, the dirtily soulful self-hater/lover is joined at one point or another by multi-instrumentalist Mathias Schneeberger, guitarist Alvin Youngblood Hart, Galactic drummer Stanton Moore, the incomparable Petra Haden, and Mark Lanegan, who takes main vocal duties for the shadowy devil of closer "Number Nine." Apollonia even makes an appearance as a backing vocalist for a few tracks. Somehow, even with its grainy appropriations of trip-hop (especially "Teenage Wristband," which sounds like a holdover from the first half of the Singers' 2000 debut), everything on Blackberry Belle begins to eventually sound like Leonard Cohen. The moody black-and-white palm tree cover art is no joke — this is an album that views sunlight through the cracked blinds of a claustrophobic hotel lounge. "There's a riot goin' on/Inside of me/Won't you come inside/See what I see?," "I think we're lost, don't worry/I've been here before," "If you're in trouble then I'll follow" — it's melancholy and death wishes in the first person here, and love only exists as a means to a bitter end. These are themes that Dulli has made a habit of discussing; nevertheless, they're made newly potent over Blackberry's dusky, shifting rhythms. Things are too scary to be danceable, although the album definitely has a groove. "Decatur St." mixes Massive Attack with Afghan Whigs, while "Follow You Down" is shimmering and stripped-down, with only frail guitar and piano to guide its death wish lyrics. Drummer Moore injects some funk into "Feathers," and "Esta Noche" finds the inherent beat in a European dial tone. Quietly building opener "Martin Eden" might make the defining statement of the record with its initial lines: "Black out the windows/It's party time." Cohen's melancholy is coursing through Dulli's tortured veins; it's good to see that he's still getting top-notch talent to aid in the nightly bloodletting.

Customer Reviews

Long live the daniel baldwin look a like of rock, LOL

I was introduced to this album, after first getting fully acquainted with the album, "Powder Burns". I wish I could give someone else the credit for discovering Twilight Singers but I can't, since I was already a fan of the "Afghan Whigs", Greg Dulli's original rock outfit. I literally was bored several years ago and started searching by name....and wound up finding this gem of an album. Where do I start? This album has catchy hooks, Dulli's trademark raspy voice, hardcore lyrics...just do yourself a favor and buy it! You will not regret it. I simply can't believe no one has yet rated or reviewed this standout album. Dulli seems to be the only one from my era, late 90s still kicking it around with new tunes and not reunion and made up mashups of previous work. That alone, deserves to be credited. The standout tracks on this album, in my humble opinion are: 1. Decatur St. (phenomenal guitar hook and melody), 2. Esta Noche, 3. Fat City (Slight Return), 4. Martin Eden (beautiful slow piano song)

EPIC

If you are even remotely a Greg Dulli fan, do yourself a favor and grab this recording. Amazing from start to finish.

Devil, Sweet Talkin' Fly On The Wall

How typical of the stupid, idiotic, vapid times we live that this great work of art has what, three reviews here? Think, Astral Weeks, Blonde On Blonde -or Time Out Of Mind even more so, think Townes Van Zandt , at his very best, Eliot Smith or The Band's Big Pink and then ask yourself why, of all of the bands coming out of the 90's it was Cobain and company rather than this consummate singer songwriter Greg Dulli with his great band Afghan Whigs who came to signify a time….was it the bands fault, or societal lacking?…..The Twilight Singers to my way of thinking are the grown up version of Dulli's earlier work. Though there have been several recordings of the highest order, dark brooding, nuanced and haunting out of this ever changing ensemble, Blackberry Belle is thus far the finest effort and easily one of the best pop rock recordings of the last decade.

Biography

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...
Full Bio
Blackberry Belle, The Twilight Singers
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