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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Under-rated and overlooked classic,
Without doubt one of the most under-rated bands of their era, The Afghan Whigs were unlucky enough to reach their peak when their Sub-Pop contemporaries were turning out formulaic tripe of the worst order and found themselves labelled "grunge". The fact that The Afghan Whigs shared nothing more than a label with mediocrities like Tad didn't matter. With this album and "Black Love" the Whigs found their creative and commercial peaks, unfortunately nobody seemed to care. The heart-broken soul lyrics and anxious rock backing combined to excellent effect the Whigs finest hour on Gentlemen, particularly "What Jail Is Like". After this they produced the mixed "1965" and finally split.
It seems unlikely that the Whigs will ever receive their proper dues. There won't be a "Pixies" style re-evaluation. Mojo won't devote a four page spread to the recording of "Gentlemen". That only leaves the records, which still sound as good ten years on. Not many of their more successful contemporaries can say that.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute Genius,
By A Customer
I remember being unsure about this album when I first bought it in 94 but then after a few listens it had me hooked. I've listened to it constantly since then (along with black love)and it never fails to get my heart pounding and make my eyes grow tearful. Pure genius, I feel sorry for anyone who hasn't discovered the Afghan Whigs...Incredible
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "If I were going" to buy 1 album this year..,
Superlatives are often thrown out ten a penny in modern society, but the only genuine superlative that can do this album justice is perfect. Published during the grunge years, it had scuzzed up feedback and screaming riffs alright, but was seemlessly blended with enough piano and orchestration to lift this away from an easy pigeonhole.
From the opening windswept introduction of "if I were going" to the string filled "closing prayer", this album works its way through a variety of disasterous relationships using a magnificent guitar led musical score and a vitriolic lead vocal. Switching from breathy whispers to hatred filled scream, Greg Dulli bares his soul on every record, his self loathing and discontentment partcularly evident on "Now you Know" and "If I were going". Marcy Mays vocal on "My Curse" also helps shows the female side, expressing the same desperation as Dulli and expelling any thoughts of this album being a mysoginistic diatribe.
If you've ever been unlucky enough to experience half of what the Afghan Whigs express on "Gentlemen", think yourself lucky that you've got this to listen to. If you consider yourself to be alternative in attitude, buy it.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably one of the greatest records of the last 10 years,
To overstate just how brilliant this record is would be a difficult task indeed. To overstate what a tragedy it is that the Afghan Whigs never became as huge as they should have done is even harder.
Put simply, 'Gentleman' is as close to genius as any rock band either side of the Atlantic came during the 1990's. It really is that good.
This record is the pinnacle of their career - there are many influences here (and I won't do the band the discredit of making lazy comparisons), but the sound is unquestionably all their own. As for the lyrics; there's a depth and poetry to them that any lyricist would die for.
Your actions from here should be:
1. Buy this record.
2. Let the music grow on you (as all the best music does).
3. Lay back and say: 'This is it. How did I let myself miss this one?'
You are going to be totally slain by what you hear. Enjoy.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb,
By A Customer
Although the others are fantastic, "Gentlemen" is the classic Whigs album, a glorious golden patch of form which they have never quite emulated since. A record of extremes as Greg Dulli explores the dark side of human life and nature, it veers from the scathing tear of "Fountain and Fairfax" and "Debonair" to the gentle but heartbreaking domestic drama of "When We Two Parted", via the lush, piano-driven "What Jail is Like" (and Dulli should know, he formed the band there). A major achievement for a band who are hopefully still on the up, the Whigs truly are the dapper gents of US rock. Just don't offer to buy them a drink.
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic from the 90's,
This is a brilliant album. I first saw the Afghan Whigs live in the mid 90's at a musical festival and was instantly blown away by them, even though before that day I had never heard of them. They were hard, edgy yet full of soul. This is the first album I bought of theirs and it is still my favourite. The songs are very autobiographical and personal, yet sound fantastic.
I could not recommend it more. Now, at least 15 years later, it is still one of my favourite albums and I still listen to it regularly. It is as relevant today as it was back then, check it out.
5.0 out of 5 stars The pinnacle of their career.,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Read that title again, and allow it to sink in that this album is the crowning achievement of a career that also included the classic albums Congregation, Black Love and 1965. It's that good.
I was first introduced to the Afghan Whigs when Brian Fallon of the Gaslight Anthem mentioned them in an interview concerning his darker side project the Horrible Crowes. Intrigued, I looked up Gentlemen and was promptly blown away. The album positively burns with emotions. Blistering lust, barely restrained rage, regret and tragedy. Dulli's vocals alternate between a smooth croon and a grinding howl, while the music behind him either simmers gently as in "If I were Going" or brings the emotion to the fore as in "Gentlemen" or "Be Sweet". Everything this album is about can be found in the opening line of track two, where Dulli in full arrogant, predatory swing drawls "your attention, please," - drawing the listener in to his shadowy, sleazy world and refusing to let go.
Everything about this album is brilliant. From the striking cover featuring two children in a somewhat adult pose charged with hinted meanings and emotions, to the music itself. it has come thundering straight into my favourite albums of all time and, if you give it a chance, it seems highly likely that the same will happen to you.
5.0 out of 5 stars The scorching arrival of brilliance,
With 1993's `Gentlemen', the Afghan Whigs took a major creative leap from the previous year's `Congregation'. `It spelled the full realization of the band's savagely beautiful mix of alternative rock and soul. Fuelled by sophisticated musicianship, searing off-kilter vocals from Greg Dulli and potent lyrical themes of emotionally abusive relationships, self loathing and addiction, `Gentlemen' is at once dangerous, seedy and scarring while it is transcendent. On top of all that, it is absolutely intoxicating.
It opens with `If I Were Going', a song that fittingly begins and ends with the sound of wind - because, without even hearing anything else, it feels like the unsettled calm before the storm - which it most assuredly is. The onslaught begins with the hopping drum intro and plummeting guitar riffs of the title track (I stayed in too long/ But she was a perfect fit/ And we dragged it out so long this time/ Started to make each other sick). Both the tone and the scene are set. After the softer, self deprecating `Be Sweet', the clapping and bass-driven funk aggression and swirling guitar of `Debonair' returns the set to hard rock emotional ruin (Feel it now and don't resist/ This time the anger's better than the kiss).
Throughout the album, this fevered psychological violence, sexual innuendo and festering low self esteem combine with Dulli's alternating screams and soulful smoulder to drive its 11 tracks into unexpectedly emotional and unnerving places. The whole thing plays as a concept album of emotional abuse, building with alternating ballads and screeching rockers.
In `When We Two Parted', Dulli croons, `You say the victim doesn't want it to end/ Good! I get to dress up and play the assassin again' before he screams in `Fountain and Fairfax', `Angel, I'm sober, I got off that stuff just like you asked me to/ Angel come closer, so the stink of your lies sinks into my memory.' From here the threat builds with the wafting piano and driving guitar of `What Jail is Like' (I warned you, if cornered, I'll scratch my way out of this pen) before we hear the woman's side of the story in a suitably bruised vocal from Scrawl's Marcy Mays (Hurt me baby/ I flinch so when you do/ Your kisses scourge me) in the wrenching ballad, `My Curse'. Then the truly frightening crescendo happens as Dulli returns in the screaming attack rock of `Now You Know' (Did you have blinders on my dear or were you just willing?/ Or was I unaware of the damage a lie can do?... Bit into a rotten now, didn't we?/ Baby, now it's through). And the story skids to an end with the softly sung excuses and self hatred of a startlingly faithful, though cleverly inverted and foreboding cover of 70s Chicago soul singer, Tyrone Davis' `I Keep Coming Back' (Oh baby, I realize I treated you wrong/ But I'm so sorry, let me come back where I belong). The mere title of the final instrumental track, `Brother Woodrow/ Closing Prayer' implies, as epilogue, that nothing has ended well here.
The conventional rock wisdom is that this is the `God' album of the Afghan Whigs' catalogue. While it is certainly brilliant, it is really no better than their stellar final two (`Black Love' in 1996 and `1965' in 1998). That said, once you hook into the searing assault of this album, you will never ever forget it.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most eclectic and interesting albums I've heard!,
This album is a must for all rock / guitar based music fans. The album is a botched DIY job of angry discordant grunge and "wallow in self pity" blues. The drums and bass are tight and solid - providing the ideal canvas for singer / guitarist Greg Dulli to construct some of the most inventive, discordant and ingeniously fractured guitar work I've ever heard. Lyrically the album painstakingly documents the weeker and darker side of Greg's (or probably any other mans!) life, with the songs fitting one after the next in an almost storybook telltale of a doomed relationship. Probably the best album I have. Simply buy it now!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It is all true...,
By A Customer
... the Whigs really were that good. If the prostpect of dirty, sleazy rock bursting with soul is at all interesting then buy all their albums.
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