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REVIEW: The Afghan Whigs – Do To The Beast

REVIEW: The Afghan Whigs – Do To The Beast

 

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A review of the Afghan Whigs album Do To The Beast.

 

The Afghan Whigs managed to heavily impact the alternative rock scene throughout their career: the band had been active from the mid 80s up until 2001, when they eventually broke up. Like many other alternative rock bands (Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh…), they set out to reunite earlier in 2012 for a relatively small tour. In 2014, the band is back with a brand new LP, Do To The Beast, on legendary indie pioneer Sub Pop Records. It’s been about 16 years since the band's latest studio effort, 1965. This comeback album feels balanced and articulated, like a band that has nothing to prove, but simply enjoys going with the flow of creativity.


Band leader Greg Dulli has been busy with a variety of musical projects, most notably with The Twilight Singers.This new album from Afghan Whigs is far removed from his side project's electronic soundscapes. Instead, this record kicks in like a punch in the face, with “Parked Outside” sporting a relentless drumbeat and granitic guitar riffing, almost like a war march. Following track “Matamoros” takes the same straight-forward rock footprint and adds some vibes that I can only describe as “psychedelic middle eastern funk.”


Things slow down on half-way through the record, with the middle section of “It Kills,” “Algiers” and “Lost in the woods” taking on a dark and melancholic blend of alt rock ballads with some unexpected twists when it comes to the rhythm section and the melodies.


Melancholy and energy keep alternating: tracks such as “Can Rova” can become extremely lush and dreamy, while moments the likes of “I am Fire” resonates like a mantra, with a really hypnotic rhythm section. Do To The Beast fades out slowly with “These Sticks,” a song that reaches a climax towards the end, only to gently fade away..

 

 
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