The Twilight Singers- Play Blackberry Belle (One Little Indian/ Birdman)
review by Joe del Tufo

Track Listing

1. Martin Eden
2. Esta Noche
3. Teenage Wristband
4. St. Gregory
5. The Killer
6. Decatur St.
7. Papillon
8. Follow You Down
9. Feathers
10. Fat City (Slight Return)
11. Number Nine


Someday an entire genre will look back and give Greg Dulli the credit he is due. Since the mid-eighties he has melded rock, punk and funk together in a way that no other band can touch, without ever being the slightest bit gimmicky. Ok, there was the whole Backbeat thing, but let's ignore that for a moment. After the Afghan Whigs disbanded, Dulli formed the Twilight Singers. On their debut Twilight As Played By The Twilight Singers, he took his sound in a new direction, engaging the beats of mix-masters Fila Brazillia with mixed results.   The new one, The Twilight Singers Play Blackberry Belle, steps in where the Afghan Whigs 1965 album left off: funky, sweaty, in-your-face and 100% attitude. The guitars are ragin', piano keys flyin' and Dulli is in full spiel.    

Blackberry opens without hesitation on the brooding Martin Eden. The opening lines "Black out the windows, it's party time" says it all, and the piano intro getting sideswiped by the wall of guitars is a good indication of what Dulli has in mind. Things heat up quickly on Esta Noche as well. Paced by a sampled telephone busy signal, guitars dive and soar while Dulli croons lines like "Let me bleed awhile, cause people wanna taste- so taste me."

Dulli's always been about laying out the phattest lines, and this time he's saved some of his best "Why you watch a car wreck muthafucker- cause it looks fun to die" from Fat City, "I'm one of them sad boys who's hypnotized by girls who walk the walk" from Decatur St. and "You wanna go for a ride? I've got sixteen hours to burn, and I'm gonna stay up all night" from Teenage Wristband.

If there is a single criticism, it's that the mix of Teenage Wristband makes this powerful song seems a little muddled and unfocused. The track itself has all of the right elements in all of the right places- the opening piano, the crashing guitars, and Dulli's vocals surfing just below the fray. But there's clearly too much going on and the sheer sexuality of the song gets compromised in the process. A killer track, nevertheless. And guaranteed to become a live staple.

The whiskey-soaked Number Nine is a duet with ex-Screaming Tree's vocalist Mark Lanegan. It's a great tune, but something of a non-sequitor with the rest of the album. It would have fit much better on the Whig's earlier Black Love release, had it been written then. Nice touch closing with it, as the dirge-like is a fitting outro to this dark, moist disc.

For me, if I had to choose a single highlight it would be the street ballad Fat City, a new version of a track that had been released earlier on a DJ Muggs CD. The track is the story of a bunch of street sinners getting a little too close to the flame. Subtle breakbeats give the song an appropriately frantic pace. Dulli sings the song with such attitude and authenticity, and even gets ex-Prince hottie Appollonia to kick in backing vocals. It's infectious and a nice new approach for Dulli's repertoire, as if he has taken the best elements introduced on Twilight built from there.

Blackberry Belle has all of the darkness, the street smarts and all of the edgy possibility that is the genius of Greg Dulli. Here he has become Springsteen's evil stepbrother, crafting out stories of the street without filters. There is not a single bummer on the eleven tracks on Blackberry. It's pure sex and drugs out to song, and it doesn't get any purer than this. This is one of the hottest releases of the year, so unless you're a foo, seek it out, baby.


marillion- happiness is the road
tilt- million dollar wound
mickey simmonds- the seven colours of emptiness
ukz- radiation
pain of salvation - scarsick
icon- icon II, icon live
the pineapple thief- tightly unwound
planet p project- levittown (go out dancing part II)
nosound- lightdark
dengue fever- venus on earth
art of all- morgan
marillion- somewhere else
abigails ghost- selling insincerity
blackfield- blackfield II
damien rice- 9
the who- endless wire
the beach boys- good vibrations
the pineapple thief- little man
the killers- sam's town
tom petty- highway companion
hem- funnel cloud
emm gryner- the summer of high hopes
jeremy enigk- world waits
razorlight- razorlight
gps- window to the soul
iron maiden- a matter of life and death
thom yorke- the eraser
richard butler- richard butler
the flaming lips- at war with the mystics
ray davies- other people's live
david gilmour- on an island
nosound- sol29
jackson browne- running on empty 5.1
neal morse- ?
king crimson- 21st century guide to king crimson
shriekback- cormorant
depeche mode- playing the angel
pallas- the dreams of men
my morning jacket- z
riverside- second life syndrome
roger waters- ca ira
various artists- backs against the wall
riverside- out of myself
sigur ros- takk
killers- hot fuss
queen + paul rodgers- return of the champions
journey- generations
yes- the word is live
emmylou harris- heartaches & highways
van der graaf generator- remaster series
rob dickinson- fresh wine for the horses
annie- anniemal
dredg- catch without arms
foo fighters- in your honor
dream theater- octavarium
belle and sebastian- push barman to open old wounds
the go-betweens- oceans apart
porcupine tree- up the downstair (remaster 2005)
coldplay- x & y
nine inch nails- with teeth
aimee mann- the forgotten arm
van der graaf generator- present
christopher o'riley- hold me to this
glen phillips- winter pays for summer
new order- waiting for the siren's call
ben folds- songs for silverman
john doe- forever hasn't happened yet
trashcan sinatras- fez
adrian belew- side one
kaki king - legs to make us longer
longview- mercury
stereophonics- language. sex. violence. other?
for against- echelons
over the rhine- drunkard's prayer
kathleen edwards- back to me
kasabian- kasabian
porcupine tree- deadwing
the wedding present- take fountain
super furry animals - songbook
arena- pepper's ghost
snow patrol- final straw
rpwl- world through my eyes
tori amos- the beekeeper
kino- picture
monarch- the grandeur that was rome
spocks beard- octane
the wonder stuff- escape from rubbish island
richard barbieri- things buried
the pineapple thief- 12 stories down
the pineapple thief- 8 days later
the innoncence mission- now the day is over
zero 7- when it falls
pain of salvation- be
california guitar trio- white water
jelly jam- 2
tim bowness- my hotel year
van halen- the best of both worlds
glen burtnik- welcome to hollywood
charlie mars- charlie mars
porcupine tree- voyage 34 (2004 remaster)
saint etienne- travel edition
lanterna- highways review
hellboys- cha cha with the hellboys review
persona non grata- the fine art of living review
tegan and sara- so jealous review
guadalcanal diary- 2x4 reissue review
voices in the wire- signals in transmission review
roger waters- to kill a child/ leaving beirut review
luna- rendezvous review
jim white- drill a hole in that substrate and tell me what you see review
the drive-by truckers- the dirty south review
the blue nile - high review
lovedrug- pretend you're alive review
twilight singers- she loves you review
keane- hope and fears review
winds- the imaginary direction of time review
kristeen young- x review
asia- silent nation review
macha- forget tomorrow review
crystal method- legion of boom dvd-audio review
kevin moore- ghost book review
marillion- don't hurt yourself singles review
attrition- dante's kitchen review
rush- feedback review
tortoise- it's all around you review
division of laura lee- does not compute review
peccatum- lost in reverie review
iq- dark matter review
bass communion- ghosts on magnetic tape review
the push stars- paint the town review
virgin black- elegant... and dying review
marillion- marbles review
the streets- a grand don't come for free review
the veils- the runaway found review
all about eve- let me go home review
john young band- live review
mary lou lord- baby blue review
the divine comedy- absent friends review
pink floyd- the final cut (2004 remaster) review
prot-kaw- before became after review
jeffrey gaines live review
mocean worker- enter the mowo review
starsailor- silence is easy review
pineapple thief- variations review
lloyd cole- music in a foreign language review
david sylvian- blemish review
spock's beard- feel euphoria eview
guy manning- press pack sampler review
magellan- impossible figures review
the tangent- the music that died alone review
john gorka- live from grace church photos and review
hothouse flowers- into your heart review
charlotte martin- on your shore review
rasputina- frustration plantation review
stellastarr*- stellastarr* review
vast- nude review
sparks- lil' beethoven review
the damnwells- bastards of the beat review
dave gahan- paper monsters review
king crimson- power to believe review
fish- field of crows review
porcupine tree- in absentia dvd-audio review
new model army- great expectations review
antimatter- unreleased 1998 - 2003 review
catie curtis: dreaming in romance languages review
the gathering- sleepy buildings review
twilight singers play blackberry belle review
vienna teng- warm strangers review
opeth- lamentations dvd review
courtney love- america's sweetheart review
blackfield review
anathema- a natural disaster review
nearfest 2003 coverage
neal morse solo photos- metuchen, nj
porcupine tree broadcast
alpha- stargazing review
david sylvian at the tla
emm gryner at the point
barry andrews at the tin angel
tweaker:2 am wakeup call review
cure- join the dots review
fish live from the tla with john wesley
spearhead- everyone deserves music review
miles hunt (wonderstuff) live

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