Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Album Review - The Gutter Twins

The Gutter Twins – Saturnalia
[Sub Pop; 04/03/08]

What do you get when you coalesce the minds of Mark Lanegan and Greg Dulli. Simple; music that doesn’t fail! Lanegan in many ways, shapes and forms has been on some sort of recording at least once a year, since his days of fronting The Screaming Trees, while Dulli boasts a similar C.V., with The Twilight Singers; the band he has made four albums with, since fronting the now defunct ‘90s rock outfit, The Afghan Whigs.

The Gutter Twins are not only a collaboration that’s aptly named, but their debut album “Saturnalia” boasts a good balance of cleanliness and a rough around the edges production techniques, which shrewdly compliments the contrast of vocal ranges Lanegan and Dulli respectively unleash.

Lanegan’s gravel throated moans have always had a brooding effect on listeners and the emotions run wild yet again, with ‘The Stations’ starting off album in a haunting fashion. Lanegan also lends a voice to a higher tempo ditties, with ‘Idle Hands’ and the album’s clincher, ‘Bete Noir’, rendering a sound that could have made Queens Of The Stone Age’s “Lullabies To Paralyze” such a better listen.

Individually, Dulli has his moments, too, taking the baton with ‘God’s Children’, showing the former ‘Whigs’ frontman in a slightly different light, with the tempos decreased and the emotions a little more guided and un-ambiguous.

Once, two former successful grunge stalwarts churning out records for Sub Pop; now, seemingly growing a little longer in the tooth, it’s like a maturity has grown over within their music. This has been the instance for Lanegan ever since he started producing solo material, so in a sense, it’s not particularly uncharted waters for him. However, his influence has certainly grown on Dulli, who has been strung along for the ride, and although the darkness is at a premium and the emotions are running high, “Saturnalia” is evidence that he and his old mate/new accomplice are at a creative high.

By Simon K

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