Release Date: Mar 4, 2008
Record label: Sub Pop
Genre(s): Rock, Alternative
Front Street, the climactic and brutally beautiful final track from Saturnalia, the full-length debut collaboration between revered alt-rock icons/chain-smoking trainwrecks Greg Dulli (Afghan Whigs, Twilight Singers) and Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age), collectively and appropriately named The Gutter Twins. Imagine spending the evening with these two charming ghouls—pretty fucking scary to say the least. As expected, there are plenty of personal demons and addictions, love and inevitable loss all on display throughout the often introspective Saturnalia.
The Gutter Twins' first full-length record may not have shown up until early 2008, but Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan had been working together since the early part of the millennium, Dulli with Lanegan on his solo work and Lanegan with Dulli's group the Twilight Singers, even touring as part of the band and showing up twice on the 2006 EP A Stitch in Time. It therefore makes sense that much of Saturnalia sounds quite similar to the Twilight Singers' material, particularly the songs where Dulli takes full or most of the writing and singing duties. This is by no means a bad thing; Dulli is all powerful, surging hooks and biting, twisting electric guitars, and Lanegan's baritone -- when he sings both lead and background vocals -- give the words an extra power, subtlety, and resonance, helped no doubt by the visceral growls he adds to lines in "Bête Noire" and "Circle the Fringes.
Review Summary: A Screaming Tree and an Afghan Whig make sweet musical love.Say what you like about Greg Dulli's music, but you've got to at least give him credit for one thing; he's very good at naming things. Gentlemen, a concept album about a man who was anything but, was undoubtedly lent an extra edge by a title that suggested that all men were, at heart, just like the album's confused, abusive, self-destructive protagonist. Black Love's dual meaning was perfect for the music within - not only were the songs stories of dark-hearted, film-noir style lust, but they were performed over music that revealed just deep The Afghan Whigs' appreciation of black music went.
There are few surprises on the debut album from the Gutter Twins, ’90s renaissance rockers Mark Lanegan of the Screaming Trees and Greg Dulli of the Afghan Whigs. As was the case with each of their previous bands, the songwriting on this record sits upon a dark throne through which themes like dysfunctional love, personal tragedy, and self-doubt are exhaustively considered. Such grim lyrics and accordantly moody instrumentation have long been the preferred tools of these two eminently troubled loners, and not surprisingly, the result sounds like a logical amalgamation of both frontmen’s former outfits.
In talking about the seemingly ever-gestating Saturnalia LP, the Gutter Twins (a strangely monozygotic amalgam of Greg Dulli’s soulman sleaze with Mark Lanegan’s Soulsaver grit) continually mentioned that their singular goal was to reject nostalgia. If a song circled the fringes of their monumental back catalogs, it was abandoned. In their desire to avoid repetition, however, they’ve indeed strayed somewhere they’ve never been before: the middle of the road.