The Twilight Singers – Twilight: as Played by The Twilight Singers

The Twilight Singers
Twilight: as Played by The Twilight Singers

Music to make love to. This is Twilight in a nutshell.
The Twilight Singers began as the side project of Greg Dulli, leader of the Cincinnati-based Afghan Whigs, while the Whigs were between record contracts. Since Twilight’s release, the band has become a full-time project, since the Whigs sadly broke up in February, after 14 years together. Twilight was recorded in a haunted New Orleans mansion, in the hours between dusk and dawn, and is Dulli’s, who recently suffered a divorce, most personal exorcism yet.
Along with Harold Chichester (Howlin’ Maggie), Shawn Smith (Brad, Satchel, Pigeonhed), Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees), the British acid-jazz duo Fila Brazillia (Steve Cobby and Dave McSherry) and a slew of New Orleans musicians, Dulli began working on Twilight three years ago in his bedroom, which is appropriate, since the majority of the songs on the album seem to be based on events that took place within that very room. Unfortunately, much of the earlier work was scrapped, due to the release of bootlegs, ruining the element of surprise Dulli was hoping to create with the album.
Pulsing base lines and bewildering beats serve as a background for the combined seductive crooning of Dulli, Chichester and Smith. Three-part harmonies and a different singer for every verse is a popular theme, and the combination proves to be intriguing, especially on standout tracks such as “That’s Just How That Bird Sings” and “Clyde,” which Dulli claims is a song about his cat and what a “mack daddy” he is.
The opening track, “The Twilite Kid,” gets you hooked right away, and, along with the schizophrenic “Annie Mae,” it is the most reminiscent of Dulli’s previous efforts with the Whigs. Like with the Whigs, there is an obvious R&B influence here, especially on tracks like “Railroad Lullaby,” but there is also much more.
The work of Fila Brazillia, who have remixed artists ranging from Radiohead to Busta Rhymes, is also a potent ingredient. Songs like “Love” and the odd yet intriguing “Verti-Marte” are proof. As a result of all this, Twilight is a battle between different styles, each one attempting to define the album, yet none of them ever really winning. This is what keeps the album so interesting.
The final song bleeds into the first one, making Twilight a full circle trip. It begins with “The Twilite Kid,” a song about a man whose woman “had another brother on the side,” and comes full circle with “Twilight,” in which the line “everything’s gonna be all right” burns itself into your brain, thanks in part to a funky beat and catchy horn section.
In the end, Twilight is an amazing album, but the constant theme of love and heartbreak, combined with acoustic guitars, string and horn sections and eerily seductive vocals, makes the album not one for the downtrodden or the testosterone-filled. It is an album certainly worth listening to over and over again, but be warned: Twilight will either make you horny, put you to sleep, or just depress the hell out of you.