Published Feb 19, 2020After 30 years, eight Afghan Whigs records and five more from Twilight Singers, it's odd to think that Greg Dulli is just now releasing his solo debut. It was worth the wait.
Haunting, desolate and broody from the very first bars, Random Desire is a ten-song joyride through the darkest depths of Dulli's mind — told with the poetic poignancy only he can muster. It tackles the same themes the Whigs frontman has based his career on, yet somehow it doesn't feel tired. Rather, it channels the same angsty vibe of the Afghan Whigs' 2017 record In Spades — but solo, Dulli seems more interesting in making you cry than dance.
From the very first pound of the bass line on "Pantomima" — a song made for the heartbroken — it's clear that Random Desire is a solemn offering. Dulli's gravelly, desperate vocals reflect a sense of anxious frenzy, while the wall of distortion gives you something to hide your tears behind.
Yet it's not a depressing affair. Rather, the album's heaviness lies in the truth it delivers, as every topic mined — death, fate, brain chemicals — leaves a different, thought-provoking line rattling around in your head.
Dulli has spent his whole career as a shape-shifting storyteller and Random Desire sees this continue. While most of his remaining '90s contemporaries have become self-parodies, Dulli continually finds ways to explore the hidden pain of the human experience. (Royal Cream / BMG)