Afghan Whigs - How Do You Burn (Clear Vinyl)

Regular price $ 24.00

Three albums into the "new" version of the Afghan Whigs that Greg Dulli introduced with 2014's Do to the Beast, it's perfectly clear that the significant differences between the 21st century edition of the band and the one that recorded the alternative rock landmarks Congregation and Gentlemen in the 1990s are changes that are here to stay. 2022's How Do You Burn?, the third LP from this edition of the group, once again lacks the taut guitar-fueled drama of their best work, and instead is built around a grandiose approach dominated by keyboards, with strings, massed vocals, and thick layers of sound as the building blocks in Dulli's Bad Karma Wall of Sound. While Dulli's obsessions as a songwriter have changed little -- he's still fascinated by toxic masculinity and the kinds of relationships that allow it to run free -- How Do You Burn? is designed to sound overstuffed at every turn, and its scale ultimately works against it. How Do You Burn? kicks off with "I'll Make You See God," easily the album's most exciting track, a blazing guitar-chugging monster that sounds like Queens of the Stone Age's "Feel Good Hit of the Summer" after it sold its soul to the Devil, and it's a thrilling overture that the album is never able to match. While Dulli's voice sounded worse for wear on Do to the Beast and 2017's In Spades, his vocals are in significantly better shape here, and the ominous drift of "The Getaway," "Catch a Colt," and "Please, Baby, Please" is absorbing and compelling on first listen. However, How Do You Burn? loses most of its momentum once it gets past the midway point, and "Take Me There" and "Concealer" both sound as if they ought to be the final track before the grand finale, "In Flames," finally crosses the finish line. Marcy Mays, the former leader of Scrawl, whose vocal on "My Curse" was one of the most shattering moments on Gentlemen, gets another showcase on "Domino and Jimmy," and the late Mark Lanegan, Dulli's friend and frequent collaborator, makes one of his final recorded appearances on "The Getaway." Ultimately, however, this feels like a movie that went into shooting without a finished script, leaving us with a great start but no way to wrap up the story. By the time the Afghan Whigs hit their stride as a band in their original incarnation, Greg Dulli was their benevolent dictator, but How Do You Burn? suggests he needs a fiercer and more energetic team of underlings if he's going to remain a force to be reckoned with.

On Clear Vinyl

A1 I'll Make You See God
A2 The Getaway
A3 Catch A Colt
A4 Jyja
A5 Please, Baby, Please
B1 A Line Of Shots
B2 Domino And Jimmy
B3 Take Me There
B4 Concealer
B5 In Flames