On "I'm Ready," an early track from the Twilight Singers' latest, Greg Dulli serves sex straight up, with a bittersweet chaser. Rather than crooning "I'm ready to love somebody" with bedroom bravado, the ex-Afghan Whigs frontman ups the sleaze factor via just-this-side-of-miserable vocals and a lyrical hint that he wants to use the dolly of the moment to get his mind off another woman. Whether the act is consummated or not, there'll be no happy ending.
Dulli's brand of sonic noir has always divided listeners, and it will this time, too. For example, plenty of folks will find "Bonnie Brae" either insufferably pretentious or just plain insufferable. Not only does Dulli offer up couplets such as "I'm not saying it's easier/To live your life like her little whore," but he does it in front of Ani DiFranco, who sings in the background.
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Still, credit him for not pulling any punches. Throughout Burns, Dulli is unapologetically lugubrious and melodramatic, and he doesn't seem to care about being liked. That's a unique combination, and a dangerous one.