The Afghan Whigs - 1965

Afghan Whigs: Greg Dulli (vocals, guitar, piano); Rick McCollum (guitar); John Curley (keyboards, keyboards); Michael Horrigan (drums). Additional personnel includes: Alex Chilton, Steve Ferrone. Though they came out of the late-'80s grunge crowd, Ohio's Afghan Whigs always seemed a little too smart for rehashed '70s metal cliches. Throughout their career, they've moved further and further away from their hard-rock roots, buoyed by the anguished lyrics of frontman Greg Dulli (who had enough vocal presence to sing Lennon's parts in the dramatized Beatles film Backbeat). Over a sonic landscape that mixes '70s R&B with seductive, timeless rock & roll hooks, Dulli spins one dysfunctional passion play after another, dredging up the ugly emotions that most people prefer to keep hidden. Dulli uses them as fuel for his artistic fire, reveling in the catharsis and connecting with those who've been there (even if they'd rather not admit it). Sax and keyboards provide a welcome variety of tone to what's still ultimately a guitar-based rock record (albeit one that shuns cliche like a chronic ailment).

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