Gutter Twins Saturnalia

Gutter Twins Saturnalia
Rumours of Mark Lanegan’s impending demise still seem to be greatly exaggerated, as the tortured crooner is back again with yet another new collaboration, this time with Afghan Whigs front-man Greg Dulli, an extension of Lanegan’s participation in Dulli’s other recent project, Twilight Singers. As the Gutter Twins, the pair share writing duties on nearly every track, and as might be expected from fans of both, an almost impenetrable darkness dominates the entire album. This is accentuated by contributions from a few in the Queens of the Stone Age circle and an overall dense production style that nonetheless strikes a good balance between the two lead voices. At certain points, such as "Idle Hands” and the bluesy "Who Will Lead Us,” the morass brilliantly congeals, but the general gothic overtones of the album unfortunately suppress the musical versatility that Lanegan in particular has displayed over the past few years, both on his own and on his collaborations with Isobel Campbell and Soulsavers. Compared to those projects, there doesn’t seem to be many instantly endearing qualities about Saturnalia. But for hardcore fans of Dulli or all things Queens-related, it reveals a twisted beauty after repeated listens. (Sub Pop)