The Twilight Singers
Dynamite Steps


4.0
excellent

Review

by Eli EMERITUS
February 15th, 2011 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Deeper, and more introspective than ever, The Twilight Singers return after five years with an album well worth the wait.

In singing of late night, hedonistic debauchery, Greg Dulli comes across more personable, and more relateable than he honestly should. This is because the man, as well as the band, The Twilight Singers, does such a commendable job in evoking more emotions and moods than would be expected from the escapades of a New Orleans playboy. He’s enjoying the ride--the tempestuous night life and one-night stands--but under the surface, there’s torment and regret, which is why Dynamite Steps manages to feel like the band’s most personal, evocative release to date.

This is thanks in part to Greg Dulli, the vocalist. Dulli is expressive in every sense of the word, although at times he’s nearly unpalatable. The tortuous straining of his vocal chords in “Last Night in Town,” for example, is simply atrocious. Sounding like a cross between himself (a raspy bari-tenor) and a haggard Randy Newman, Dulli creaks and cracks during the songs entirety. This isn’t a one time occurrence either, as the guy displays his weaknesses all over the place, and in a strange way, it’s sort of charming. Along with the more “exposed” feeling of the lyrics and the music, he feels more frail and open when he’s showing the faults of his voice--much like the faults in his character he so foolishly displays.

Dynamite Steps hearkens back to the late 90’s/early 2000’s alt rock movement, albeit a tad more dark and murky. It’s mellow and subdued in many parts, and the moody and cool atmosphere permeates a lot of the album. There's a bevy of string and percussive sounds, which really goes a long way in giving a lot of texture to the rest of the band. The bass rumbles and the guitar crashes, but it's reverberated off a softer, all encompassing atmosphere. This gives songs like “The Beginning of the End” and “Never Seen No Devil” their smaltzy and chill mood, like the band is playing in a smoky bar or club. Other tracks such as “Waves” and “On the Corner” feature a more streamlined, rock and roll sound, with some of the best, most intriguing guitar and percussion work. “She Was Stolen” is perhaps the most minimal of all the songs, but is without a doubt the most effective. With a mere keyboard and drum set, Dulli wails and croons about love lost in a most melancholy tone. It truly is beautiful, although nigh uncomfortably personal, which are why these tracks work--they‘re honest, and everything, even Dulli’s all-or-nothing vocals, seems to work just perfectly. The piano driven passages, the introspective lyrics, and the appropriate melodramatic alt rock stylings all converge, making each track shine. Sure, a couple of duds (“Last Night in Town” and “Gunshots”) mar an otherwise pristine track list, but the remainder of the work is so stunningly consistent and varied, that it goes a long way in remedying this.

Dynamite Steps, The Twilight Singers first effort in nearly five years, is a new standard for the band. While it doesn’t necessarily top Powder Burns or Blackberry Belle, the new, more matured direction is welcome. It’s a beautifully melodramatic, self-deprecating romp through the mind of Greg Dulli, and really, that’s the side of the man we’ve come to know and love.



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user ratings (36)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Nick Butler EMERITUS (4)
The best album Greg Dulli has written in almost fifteen years....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenophanes
Emeritus
February 15th 2011


10618 Comments


Cool album is cool.

DoubtGin
February 15th 2011


6752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

can this band do wrong?

their debut is infinitely better though

Xenophanes
Emeritus
February 15th 2011


10618 Comments


I know. This reminds me how much I enjoy them. It's been awwhiiilllleee since I've last listned.

pizzamachine
February 15th 2011


12571 Comments


Oh man it'll take a while to overtake your review amount. Pos.

Ponton
Emeritus
February 15th 2011


5815 Comments


excellent, eli

Digging: Ben Howard - I Forget Where We Were

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
February 15th 2011


16785 Comments


very nice review xeno

Digging: Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy

EvilCashew
February 15th 2011


132 Comments


Props on the review. I'll have to check this out, sounds pretty nice.

Phideaux
February 15th 2011


1655 Comments


Sounds inter resting.

Added to my list of stuff to listen to.

Digging: Gates - Bloom and Breathe

Irving
Staff Reviewer
February 15th 2011


7318 Comments


Solid review Cheno - congrats on the feature!

Minor quibbles:

i.) relate-able

relatable?

ii.) This is thanks in part to Greg Dulli, the vocalist. Dulli is expressive in every sense of the word, although at times he’s nearly unpalatable. The tortuous straining of his vocal chords in “Last Night in Town,” for example, is simply atrocious. Sounding like a cross between himself (a raspy bari-tenor) and a haggard Randy Newman, Dulli creaks and cracks during the songs entirety. This isn’t a one time occurrence either, as the guy displays his weaknesses all over the place, and in a strange way, it’s sort of charming.

Excerpt feels a bit repetitive; there must be an easier way to word it. That said, I may be clutching at straws here.

Digging: Portishead - Dummy

Xenophanes
Emeritus
February 15th 2011


10618 Comments


Thanks guys!

Yeah, Irving, I'll fix that when I get home from work : D

Eskate87
February 15th 2011


959 Comments


yesss!!! was hoping this would be good. Greg Dulli is one of the best frontmen of all time imo. great to hear he's still got it.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
February 15th 2011


10618 Comments


You should get on this then!

afghanwhigger
February 16th 2011


67 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Very happy with this one. Dulli is as "street" and raw as ever. Does anyone else hear Daft Punk's "Make Love" in On The Corner? Oh and... Great review.

Nagrarok
February 16th 2011


8292 Comments


Congrats on the feature Xeno, it's deserved. I might look into this.

Iai
Emeritus
February 16th 2011


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album of the year so far tbh.

Bitchfork
February 16th 2011


7584 Comments


"Deeper,"
get rid of this comma

myhigherpie
May 8th 2011


3027 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Between this, Gang Gang Dance, Laura Stevenson, Fleet Foxes, The Antlers, Wild Beasts, Thursday, PJ Harvey, Manchester Orchestra, and James Blake, 2011 already has enough worthwhile music to last it the next 7 months.

flamingmouse
May 8th 2011


183 Comments


I just got this album because I'm going to see these guys with Margot and the Nuclear So Sos Saturday. I'm really digging it after one listen. I'll have to check out their other stuff.

AutoRock
August 13th 2011


421 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Very good Review for a brilliant Album. Should be getting way more attention than it does. It's astounding to me how they made such a good Album with a Vocalist who is as bad as Dulli.(though he is a great songwriter and is able to transport emotions perfectly fine, he just cannot hold a note) But it does not bother me at all on this LP, in fact I think it somehow works out great for the music... but I guess this is kind of the point of your second paragraph anyway.

Zion
December 27th 2011


812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

If their debut is better than this, it might just earn a 5 from me. Cause this is amazing.



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