The Gutter Twins: Saturnalia (SubPop)

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The Gutter Twins: Idle Hands
The Gutter Twins: Saturnalia (SubPop)

The menacing baritone of Mark Lanegan (formerly of grunge-era Screaming Trees, sometime guest with Queens of the Stone Age) was recently employed to redemptive uplift on the Soulsavers album which was one of the Best of Elsewhere 2007 (see tag).

Here he and Greg Dulli (of Afghan Whigs and Twilight Singers) as the Gutter Twins explore similarly dense emotional territory but without the gospel component that was a hallmark of Soulsavers and instead aim for a broody, moody rock-framed sound (the rivetting Idle Hands with its monochrome surge, the oceanic Circle of Fringes).

From the menacing cover shot of a thunderous sky this is a dark ride, but not without suggesting a promise.

The dub-conscious quiet insinuation of Seven Stories Underground, the brooding U2-sideways ballad I Was in Love You, and the backwoods Bete Noire may have shadowland content but there is something quite elevating about them.

So not really gutter (or saturnalian) at all, rather something more spiritual -- if still scuffed up and disconcerting.

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