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Twilight Singers | Blackberry Belle | review | alternative | rock | Lollipop

The Twilight Singers

Blackberry Belle (One Little Indian/Birdman)
by Tim Den

I never thought ex-Afghan Whigs leader Greg Dulli would take his tortured dementia into the realm of indielectro, and I never would've guessed that the results would be as moving as Blackberry Belle, his second full-length with The Twilight Singers. Granted, this ain't a full-on sub-shaker, but the restrained flourishes of keyboard samples/big beats give Dulli's patented "dark underbelly of melodic rock" exactly the dynamics it needs. Specifically, they cushion Blackberry Belle's unexpected dramaticism (Dulli has never sounded so willing to "bear it all") with just the right amount of over-the-top heartbreak, taking the songs into formerly uncharted territory (for Dulli) of (gulp) sentimentalism. That's not to say our favorite drinking-and-fighting frontman has gone soft. Far from it. The lyrics are still packed with junkies, suicidal desperation, lustful teenagers, and alcohol-fueled resignation, they're just enforced by gospel vocals (which Dulli is a big fan of) and beautiful piano lines. I dare say Blackberry Belle is Dulli's first real "soft-hearted" album, where he's as willing to take you down the dangerous back alleys of New Orleans as he is willing to warm your bones by the fireplace. The result is a perfect combination of gut-wrenching melodies and depravity-ridden tales. A must get.

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