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Do To The Beast
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  • Of the bands that came from the "heavy alternative" scene typified by the Sub Pop roster in the late '80s to early '90s, the Afghan Whigs were one of the very best -- their music was strong and powerful, the songs were outstanding soul-inflected hard rock, and Greg Dulli's nicotine-bathed voice was the perfect fit for their musical approach. But they were also willing to dig deeper into the dark spaces of the human heart than nearly anyone else in rock, especially on their finest and most compelling album, 1993's Gentlemen. It seemed the band couldn't go any deeper, and they didn't on their final two albums, 1996's Black Love and 1998's 1965, but after a heroically received reunion tour in 2012, the Afghan Whigs returned to the recording studio and have offered up a work nearly as dark and unsettling as Gentlemen, 2014's Do to the Beast. It sounds a good bit different than their previous work: vocalist and songwriter Dulli and bassist/multi-instrumentalist John Curley are the only original members of the band on board, replaced with a larger ensemble (including lots of keys, occasional strings, and busy percussion) that boasts a broader dramatic scope than the classic Whigs' sound. Dulli's phrasing and sense of drama are as solid as ever, even if his instrument is significantly grainier than it has been in the past, and Do to the Beast chronicles a relationship just as damaged as you'd expect from Dulli, as the performances and arrangements manage to build into something more than the sum of their parts. Do to the Beast is an ambitious attempt to re-create the feeling of the Afghan Whigs while retooling their sonic fingerprint, and the final product is intelligent and often fascinating. ~ Mark Deming
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone - 3 stars out of 5 -- "The stylishly sleazy intensity is still there on their first record since 1998's excellent 1965, only with a wider palette..."

Spin - "The productions and songcraft of dusty single 'Algiers' and majestic centerpiece 'Lost in the Woods' are among the richest of the band's three-decade career."

Magnet - "DO TO THE BEAST is lean and funky like a '70s masterpiece, inspired equally by Bobby Womack and William Friedkin."

Paste (magazine) - "It's a terrifying album, in the best way possible, full of roiling emotions on tough, riveting songs."
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