9 December 2012
The Afghan Whigs - Black Love
Sometimes you stumble onto band you have heard the name as if in a dream. When I was a child I had a few named band I had to hear at one point - Frank Zappa - turned out to be the master of my musical world. Guns N' Wankers - Not quite what I was expecting but still fun, Then there was the Afghan Whigs.
The name just sounded so tantalising. So exotic, so original to the younger mind of this journey man. For a long while I had this album I found it something of a Pandora's box. I knew once it was opened there was no going back, Once I had unlocked what was inside there was no reverse button, no tippex, no track back or pro-tools. There was only the discovery of what the band would be for me.
Bit of background I have gathered for research on this album for the blog - released on 1996, prior to this album's release, lead singer Greg Dulli seriously explored producing a movie in a movie, but even though he had a few options it was never made, and Mr Dulli's ideas for a soundtrack were made into this album which was the the fifth by the Whigs.
You do get a running theme through this whole album, it does feel like all the childhood dreams and nightmares of a film. It has a heavy weight about it without really being building towards a goal. All 11 tracks from beginning to end are played to such a quality it is not even funny to make a bad remark. I still have to listen to the lead track "Crime Scene Part One" at least once a year or I feel it has not been a good year. But just like the film noir genre which this album was written for, it is a highly specialised field that the audience is for.
It was never meant for the wider audience of today, it harks back to an audience of a simpler age, a quieter age where the musical shocks would have had more of an effect. But even then it felt like a vintage, something to take your time with and let mature. So how has it done in 16 years......
There are a few edges I could do without. Stevie Wonder wants his riff back for "Going To Town" and there is a lyrical theme about choosing which feels like it is being spoon fed. Also as much as I love my slow indie it is not the best aged album, yet it is not of an awful timing either. It is just lost in where it wants to be. Trying to be what it's master Mr Dulli wants means it had to be modern for the time, 80's in places for a sort of hipster vibe-ala-Cure and keep the film noir styling.
In the end it does not 100% please any of the above, but it is a good gateway into a band that had ideas above it's station. For some the stars are too far and when they try we support them, we love them even more, the only way this band could be loved more was if they were all from an orphanage in some country which makes you feel slightly guilty for not thinking of it before and had the worst disease ever....
You love them for the fact they were not perfect, had big ideas and tried there best. By default they are British, but being American and sort of faulty they win my heart if not the war. To be continue my Whigs to be continued.....
6.5 out of ten - Now I see where you were going, but not quite there
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You can listen to on Spotify here
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