Rhythm & Views 

The Gutter Twins

Greg Dulli--the pudgy-faced alt-rock lothario of the mid-'90s--has teamed up with Will Ferrell look-alike and former Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan to form The Gutter Twins, whose first album blends roots rock and blues with histrionic goth trappings. It all results in an underwhelming debut.

The problem is the lack of dynamic songwriting, paired with a tired rehashing of territory that's been mined before--and better--by the likes of Tom Waits and Nick Cave. There's lots of spidery, sustained guitar-noodling, ringing organ tones and vibrating feedback, but none of the tracks distinguish themselves, despite superficial differences.

The dominant sound on Saturnalia is a driving, monotonous drone accompanied by caterwauling vocals, as found on "God's Children," "Idle Hands" and "The Stations." Phrases like "devil's plaything" and "lovers to break" get bandied about with references to pills, heaven and suicide. Ominous backing vocals and string arrangements add to the album's spook-house ambiance, but it's all so humorlessly earnest that it becomes boring.

Lanegan's vocal style sounds dated, recalling Layne Staley and Eddie Vedder more than his own come-hither croak from the Trees' one radio hit, "Nearly Lost You." And though I was once begrudgingly charmed by Dulli's self-important swagger during his stint with the Afghan Whigs, it appears he's lost his own sleazy appeal.

Saturnalia's lesson: Beware of former frontmen from the doomed "grunge era," especially when they come in pairs. And now that we know, beware if there's ever a new Temple of the Dog album.

More by Sean Bottai


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

The Range

Get Your Spooks On for a Halloweekend at Hotel Congress

In the Flesh: Howe Gelb's 60th B-day Bash at the Rialto Theater

Song of the Day: 'Cosmic Love Song No. 23' by Louise Le Hir

More »

Latest in Rhythm & Views

  • Rhythm & Views

    American Monoxide “In Flight Mode” (People In A Position To Know)
    • Dec 18, 2014
  • Rhythm & Views

    Wight Lhite “Beyond the Satellites” (Paisley Shirt Records)
    • Dec 11, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Noise Annoys

    Mute Swan and the Curse of Local Hype
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • Honky Tonk Girl

    How this Tucson 19-year-old might trip the country electric
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • More »

Facebook Activity

© 2016 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation