As the frontman of the Cincinnati-based Afghan Whigs, Greg Dulli has spent the last decade looking for sexual healing with his unique brand of R&B-influenced alternative rock. After years of fleeting success, Dulli has taken his feelings of insecurity into his side project called the Twilight Singers, a group that includes Howlin' Maggie multi-instrumentalist Harold Chichester and Brad multi-instrumentalist Shawn Smith. Its debut release, Twilight as Played by the Twilight Singers, has a sleepy, dreamlike quality that, while initially mesmerizing, ultimately makes the album sound as if it were a collection of unfinished demo tracks.
The fact that the project was started three years ago and only finished earlier this year likely contributes to the disc's disjointed nature. Because Twilight has sensitive lyrics, acoustic guitars, and soft pianos, the ubiquitous drum track that runs throughout the songs is disruptive. In tracks such as "King Only" (a song the Whigs debuted late in their recent tour), "Annie-Mae," and "Railroad Lullaby," Dulli's soulful vocals are buried underneath the din. The lone highlight is "VertiMarte," which layers swaying electronic drumbeats, random background noises, and high-pitched chants over a slice of jazzy guitar with Prince-like falsetto vocals. With Twilight, Whigs fans get a taste of the band's next album, which will reportedly be more electronic-oriented, but this record won't even suffice as background music.