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4.6 out of 5 stars21
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 20 April 2014
When The Afghan Whigs disbanded around the turn of the millenium, I thought it was perhaps for the best. Having developed their sound from the churning soul tinged vitriol of Up In It and Congregation, through the wounded Gentleman, reaching their peak with Black Love. An album that has a permanent place in my top 10 for it's soulful, violent Bukowski prose and swooning musical peaks and troughs. 1965 was a bit of a step back from the brink, a good album but it had an impossible act to follow, after you produce your masterpiece what else can artists do but disappoint?
Take a 15 year break and make another masterpiece. I've enjoyed the Twilight Singers and The Gutter Twins but Greg Dulli seems to be at his best when with the Whigs. Parked Outside is the track that ushers us in to this new collection, punchily it establishes the themes of the album: sex, religion, suffering...it's smokey miasma, muggy production, evoking both Congregation and Black Love. It's followed by Matamoros, one of the few times when you can point at the musical influence of the intermediary years, electro arpeggios, fleshed out with muscular, spiky guitars. Everything on this album makes me happy...the driving drums, the gospel, the arabic scales that haven't been heard on a Whigs album for so long, the parts where Dulli sounds like Prince, the bass sound. The vitriol that didn't seem to be there at the end of their original run.
I didn't know what to make of Algiers, elegant falcetto driven lead single or Can Rova, seemingly underproduced violent second single but in context of their places on the album, these songs represent dark peaks of a record that sits alongside Black Love as something of it's equal.This album is a true collection of it's component parts, like the best work the band has previously produced, it doesn't stoop to the listener or seek your approval, anyone criticising Dulli's voice perhaps hasn't heard enough of his previous work, it's as good as ever and this album couldn't come higher recommended to any fan of the Whigs or anyone seeking catharsis.
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on 20 April 2014
When suspiciously "record studio"-like photos began surfacing on the Whigs Facebook page without much fanfare, I allowed myself to hope, and was extremely happy when "Do to the Beast" was announced. I'm a relatively new Whigs fan, getting into them through an interview with Brian Fallon of the Gaslight Anthem and buying Gentlemen back in 2011. As a result I haven't had quite the wait that the "first wave" fans have faced, but nonetheless, my anticipation was high for this album.

So does it stack up to my expectations? I have to say 90% yes. It's a great album, make no mistake. "Parked Outside" is one hell of an opener, marrying crunchy guitars and an almost-discordant cello to Greg's unmistakeable yowl. "Matomoros" follows this up with a typically funky guitar and a thunderous bass boom in the chorus that never fails to satisfy. Other highlights include crooning Western death-ballad "Algiers" and "Royal Cream" - which sounds bizarrely like Jimmy Eat World's delinquent chain-smoking older brother.

So why only four stars? (Four and a half really, but I can't give half stars).

Well, it's perhaps not surprising, but a significant part of the album sounds A LOT like Greg's other band, the Twilight Singers. For the most part this isn't a problem, as TS are a great band, but just sometimes in the more electronic parts of this album I found myself longing for the gritty, purely organic Whigs of yesteryear. The worst offender is probably "The Lottery" a shimmering track with electronic drums which just sounds too much like a reject from Dynamite Steps (it's probably the weakest track on the album which doesn't help).

Other than that minor gripe, and also a slight longing for a couple more hard rockers like the first two tracks, this is a great album. It's seen quite a few plays already from me, and it's very likely to see a few more. I would say it's comparable to Soundgarden's stellar comeback "King Animal" - a well-established band making a great comeback after an extended absence.

For those in the know, I found it much easier to get into than Black Love. It's probably on a par with the partylicious 1965 in terms of quality, edged out by the phenomenal Gentlemen (I'm not too familiar with the albums before that and so I'll refrain from commenting). For those new to the band, this is a good starting point. Give it a shot.
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on 26 May 2014
Purchased this after seeing them on Later with Jools Holland... I remember seeing Greg Dulli on Later with Mark Lanegan as The Gutter Twins but did not realise he was the Afghan Whigs as well.

Great album with nary a duff track in sight but up for special mention are Matamoros, It Kills, Algiers and Royal Cream.

What I find most striking about Greg Dulli is that he is not a good singer in the conventional sense but as with other great vocalists
has that knack of getting under your skin. His vocals are also applied to some terrific tunes.
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on 2 September 2014
Great comeback!

A fantastic album that hails the return of Afghan Whigs. They remain as relevant and fresh sounding as they did in their last album. An amazing album with several outstanding songs. My personal favourite from the album is Algiers, but Matamoros, Can Rova and Royal Cream join the ranks amongst classic Afghan Whigs tracks.

If you like the band, get it, a great addition to the catalogue. If you don't know them, this is a brilliant starting point and a fantastic introduction to a band that I believe deserves more attention.
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on 4 February 2016
7/10 maybe. Decent effort. "It Kills" with its subtle ooh oohs and demented middle-eight soul scream; and "Into the Woods" masterly minor key to major switch up almost justify the price of admission and would easily make a best of Whigs but the whole soul-grunge vibe (a mostly horrible idea the Whigs pretty smartly pulled off on the trio of Gentlemen, Black Love and 1965 is mostly absent and the album trails off in the second half with too many uninspired rockers (The Lottery, Royal Cream) and semi-baked experiements (Can Rova with its tacked on house beat of all things!) Could have done with a proper blow out like "Faded"! Rick McCollum is definitely missed, on closer "These Sticks" a McCollum like guitar figure appears very low in the mix like a ghost at the feast. Studio trickery abounds comensurate with Dulli's increased mastery with many indeterminate instruments, crowd noise echoes, electronic buzzing aspects not present on the more analogue Whigs 1.0 up to and including a bizarre use of autotune on "Algiers" and "The Lottery."
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on 2 June 2014
I got into the Afghan Whigs a bit late and via album '1965' which I adored. Through later incarnations as 'Twilight Singers' and collaborations with Mark Lanagan, I have continues my love affair with the sleazy and dark meanderings of Greg Dulli's psyche.
This album takes me back to that earlier Afghan Whigs' time and feels like a seamless 'next album'. Ignore the tendency to write the same song over and over, and the strained vocals on some tracks; this is a proper rock album to sit alongside your QOTSA collection.
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on 22 January 2015
Can they still cut it? Are they going to crash and burn or sound better than The Twilight Singers? A resounding yes...some great moments here with trademark Whigs themes and wobbly Dulli vocals...still burning, still passionate and still there. A welcome return indeed.
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on 24 June 2014
This is a cracking rock album, the sort that comes along now and then, which is worth of playing right through from beginning to end. I hope that it doesn't get too much exposure, like Kings of Leon, loved their early stuff too.
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on 29 July 2014
A welcome return from the Dulli boys. better live than studio but fantastic stuff all the same. 'these Sticks' is one of the Whigs' best ever tracks but gets no attention. Not played live either, strange.
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on 16 September 2014
First time I have listened to this band...really good mixture of soft and hard rock can't stop listening to it, difficult to say who they remind me off maybe a bit of Guns and Roses and The National...
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