Label: Sub Pop - SP1061 • Format: CD Album • Country: US • Genre: Rock • Style: Alternative Rock
Do to the Beast may not always sound like an Afghan Whigs album, but it operates like one, scavenging the darker corners of pop history to create something personal, vital, and urgent. Rather, Do to the Beast is Royal Cream - The Afghan Whigs - Do To The Beast right before all hell breaks loose. You brace yourself for the impact, as you would in a car crash. It's a sensation similar to watching a Hitchcock film, and perhaps Dulli picked up the trick as a film student at the University of Cincinnati in his pre-Afghan days.
When the band signed with Royal Cream - The Afghan Whigs - Do To The Beast in the early s, the label agreed to fund his feature-length directorial debut, which he sadly never found the time to make. On Do to the BeastDulli seems less interested in rehashing the raw rock-quartet attack the Afghan Whigs mastered in the 90s than he is in building on it.
The shift in aesthetic is owed to the logistics of this reunion. In addition to Dulli, only one of the founding Whigs members, bassist John Curley, shows up. Guitarist Rick McCollum is MIA, and the Afghan Whigs never even had a semi-permanent drummer to reunite with, so there's fewer charter members playing on this album than there were on the two new songs from their retrospective, Unbreakable.
In other words, no one involved this album seems terribly concerned with picking up where the Afghan Whigs left off more than a decade and a half ago, and nor should they be: the last thing we need from the Afghan Whigs is 90s nostalgia.
That made him something of an outsider in the 90s alt-rock scene—he was dismissed almost as passionately as he was embraced—but it also means that Afghan Whigs albums were motivated by personal vision Αγανάκτησα Μέ Σένα - Θανάσης Βαρσαμάς - Κι Αν Υποφέρω Μακριά Σου than scene aesthetics and therefore have aged remarkably well. If drew from mid-to-lates soul and Black Love was about earlys Blaxploitation soundtracks, then Beast might be set just a few years before, when the rhythm and blues industry was housed in a few independent labels on Broadway and acts like Solomon Burke, the Drifters, and the Shirelles sang out-in-the-street pop epics with ambitious arrangements and insoluble heartbreak.
So Do to the Beast may not always sound like an Afghan Whigs album, but it operates like one, scavenging the darker corners of pop history to create something personal, vital, and urgent.
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