Greg Dulli’s new Twilight Singers album recorded in New Orleans right after Katrina hit: “It was hard to finish because the power kept going out… There were rolling blackouts almost every night, and the curfew was still in place while I was there. So it was kind of a police state that we finished it under.”
The Twilight Singers – Blackberry Belle (One Little Indian Us)
The Twilight Singers are keeping the mood going that they hit with their 2000 debut, Twilight. Greg Dulli and Co. drop eleven more songs on Blackberry Belle that will hit home with the after-hours party people.
A few piano notes open the album on “Martin Eden” with a mischievous Dulli suggesting, “Black out the windows / it’s party time.” The music is being held back from bursting through, keeping in touch with that feeling of leaving your apartment at ten at night with no plans and only a vague idea of where things are going.
A contender for song of the year is “Teenage Wristband.” This baby should be pumping from every car on the way to the party. The guitars, drums, piano, and Dulli’s singing don’t blow you away until the end of the song. It’s a constant building of momentum right before you hit that front door and see everybody drinking, dancing, and flirting. And with lines like, “She said-she said / you wanna go for a ride? / I got no more money to burn / and I’m gonna stay up all night,” how could you not be primed for a drink?
“The Killer” keeps a head-bobbing tempo that helps you look cool leaning up against a wall trying to pick up. It’s a low-key vibe for surveying the room, and once your eyes meet whoever it is you’ve been looking for, the song explodes with “Where should we go? / I know you know that I’m gonna need it.” The answer to the question is “Decatur St.,” a rocker that sounds like Black Love-era Afghan Whigs, about a guy on the prowl for a one nighter. It’s one of the high points of the album focusing on the game you’re playing with someone across the room, asking, “Do ya? Do ya? / Do ya wanna roll with me?”
The night, or at this point morning, progresses to the song “Feathers.” The Singers keep that funky guitar on full blast for at this point you should be nose to nose in the center of the room, hands on hips wondering if you’re going end up with a phone number. The music is dizzying in its ability to capture the feeling of being drunk at two in the morning and taking one more shot. Because at this point, who gives a shit? “Waving in the wind like feathers / feel you near me, disappearing / if you take, you better kill me.” Your partner sees her ride leaving and suddenly you’re alone realizing after all that alcohol, she wasn’t just dancing with you, but keeping you on your feet.
The ride home sucks. Your friends are laughing about the party and your head is skyward in the backseat drunk, tired, and certain that tonight was the one that got away. Dulli tries to ease your pain by having Mark Lanegan guest on the final track, “Number Nine.” It’s a sweet and lazy song that brings everything to a close. Dulli and Lanegan trade verses until the very end where they are dueling to gain the upper hand pleading, “Come on boy, don’t be such a baby.” It all ends in a swirl of guitar, violin, and a woman soulfully belting away in your ears. Your eyes are rolling in the back of your head and you cannot tell if you’re still dancing, or in the backseat, or home in bed. And the greatest part is you don’t even care.