Album / CD art cover titled " Dynamite Steps" by...

Album / CD art cover titled " Dynamite Steps" by The Twilight Singers Credit: None/

Indie-rock bad boy Greg Dulli has been luring us to the wrong side of the tracks for more than two decades now, by himself and as the leader of the underappreciated Afghan Whigs, Gutter Twins and Twilight Singers.

For the ever-changing Twilight Singers' fifth album, "Dynamite Steps" (Sub Pop), Dulli's tools are all in order - the soulful growl and croon, the late-night imagery and macho come-ons, and the growing arsenal of musical styles, from electronica and grunge to R&B and rock - all designed to get listeners to come along for the ride.

He opens the album with "Last Night in Town," promising, "Whenever you're here, you're alive" and masterfully keeps his word for the next 43 minutes and 11 songs.

The craftsmanship here is so good, it's invisible. The first single, "On the Corner," starts with a simple electronic beat, some New Orleans piano and some string-section flourishes, before bursting into full Afghan Whigs-y heroics, including a fiery guitar solo, while the story line moves from seduction to betrayal and murder to the courtroom.

The spare, stunning "She Was Stolen" harks back to the best of the Twilight Singers' "Powder Burns" album, while the epic title track shows that Dulli's ambitions continue to grow.

Maybe that's why "Dynamite Steps" shows why Dulli is one of the rare songwriters who gets better with age and has set the bar for 2011's album of the year very, very high.


Twilight Singers


"Dynamite Steps"


BOTTOM LINE Another masterful look at the dark end of the street

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