Gutter Twins: Saturnalia

The Gutter Twins is the name chosen for a potentially toxic alliance of Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees), and Greg Dulli (Afghan Whigs, Twilight Singers). But toxic or not, these are two of the most celebrated frontmen in the history of indie rock, and they’ve joined together to create one of the year’s more compelling albums.

Dark doesn’t begin to describe the dense, multi- layered sound that the Twins employ to illustrate the struggle for their souls. Full of swirling guitars and pitch-black synthesizers, the music veers from acoustic to full-on rock before settling somewhere in the middle. And in the midst of the cacophony, power chords erupt as if Angus Young had somehow ended up in the studio.

“Idle Hands” serves as a perfect example of the sound of this band, and it is also one of the best rock and roll tracks I’ve heard since the last Twilight Singers album. Once again, Lanegan and Dulli are fighting off Satan, and it rocks like hell. There’s a central riff that will give you whiplash, and a closing guitar solo that will have you banging your head on the dashboard. “Circle The Fringes” is a meditation on mortality set amidst mysterious strings and pounding guitars.

There is no telling how long this partnership will last, but hopefully The Gutter Twins will be around to produce more music. As it is, they have left an indelible mark with this album.

In A Word: Haunting