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Afghan Whigs- Do to the Beast
:: April 10, 2014 :: by Kirk Windus

RIYL: Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Dinosaur Jr.

Afghan Whigs

Recommended Tracks:

Track 2- Matamoros

Track 5- Lost in the Woods

Track 4- Algiers

The album art to The Afghan Whigs’ Do to the Beast may not be the most warm or welcoming, depicting a weird animalistic, sexual scene. But don’t be swayed by it because the album is a rare, dark but gorgeous rock record.

The record really kicks off at the second track, “Matamoros,” which contains industrial sounding verses, (say NIN) which emerge into an eerie, minor keyed, almost-whispered chorus, on which lead singer Greg Dulli croons “I’m over you/ I’ll tell you why/ your kiss is poison.”

The Afghan Whigs have been together since the mid ‘80s, so they don’t need to prove their maturity. But if they did, this record would do it. Songs like “It Kills” and “Algiers” are dark and intense, but also subtle and restrained. The instrumentation on the tracks is limited, using mostly piano and acoustic guitar, but the sound is still full and the band sounds just as intense as on the album’s heavier tracks.

The Whigs may be constantly compared to bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, but to call Do to the Beast a grunge record would be a total misnomer. Beautifully dark minor-key piano lines litter the album and the occasional huge major-key chorus (“Lost in the Woods”) keeps this album in pure rock territory.

It’s impossible to say enough good things about The Afghan Whigs. But the one thing that’s really worth mentioning is quite profound. The band that have spent much of their career in the shadows of bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and The Melvins have quietly aged better than Pearl Jam could ever hope to.

It’s a shame that the band don’t get more recognition, but the sublime work that is Do to the Beast may just be a good step towards emerging from that shadow. 

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