Four stars (out of four)
By Samuel Gaytan
On “Amber Headlights,” Greg Dulli returns to the realm of black love and offers his best collection of original work since his days with The Afghan Whigs.
The death of a friend while he initially was working on “Amber Headlights” delayed its completion for years, but Dulli found inspiration and a musical collaborator in New Orleans. As can happen with the Crescent City, it turned the despair of death and the darker aspects of life into sources of inspiration that offer unique glimpses into the soul. What you find might not always be pretty, but it often is hauntingly truthful.
Nowhere is Dulli’s dark muse tapped better than on “Early Today,” whose dueling guitars set the tone for the unabashed passion on the CD. Lyrics such as “I’ve been asleep/what’s going on?/ Used to feel love, now I wanna hurt you/real bad, real slow/things have changed” are woven together with background vocals that reflect anguish behind the resentment.
Dulli has one of the most evocative voices in music today, a voice that smoothly seems to tell a tale of too many cigarettes and soul-searching confrontations with hope that’s been betrayed. His latest collection highlights his vocal skills at their best.
Recommended if you like: The Afghan Whigs; The Twilight Singers; Screaming Trees