Afghan Whigs: still mixing psychedelic rock and brimstone gospel in fiery fashion

Greg Dulli’s dark destroyers the Afghan Whigs glower as gigantically as ever on ninth album How Do You Burn?

How Do You Burn? cover art
(Image: © BMG)

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Drawing on blaxploitation funk, Stax soul, psychedelic rock and brimstone gospel throughout a career rich in James Ellroy-style crime-noir imagery, Greg Dulli’s re-formed Afghan Whigs were never going to sound stuck in any 90s-revivalist rut. 

This third album since their 2011 reunion – named by the late Mark Lanegan, who contributed backing vocals – broods and bristles like the height (or should that be depth?) of their first-era success; there’s nothing over-the-hill about the pile-driving motoric sex-rock of opener I’ll Make You See God or the menacing, bulked-out Dear Prudence that is The Getaway

There are surprising touches, though: Catch A Colt comes on like a crueller clatter-rock Kasabian; Jyja and Take Me There build on seditious Eastern drones, and A Line Of Shots could be Elbow throwing the curtain wide then jumping off the ledge euphorically. 

While we might predict glowering organ, piano or acoustic guitar pieces, we might not expect them to get attacked by electronic wasps, as on Concealer. How does it burn? Darkly, but with sparks.

Mark Beaumont

Mark Beaumont is a music journalist with almost three decades' experience writing for publications including Classic Rock, NME, The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Times, Uncut and Melody Maker. He has written major biographies on Muse, Jay-Z, The Killers, Kanye West and Bon Iver and his debut novel [6666666666] is available on Kindle.