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The Afghan Whigs
1. If I Were Going
3. Be Sweet
5. When We Two Parted
6. Fountain and Fairfax
7. What Jail Is Like
8. My Curse
9. Now You Know
10. I Keep Coming Back
11. Brother Woodrow / Closing Prayer
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 61501
Afghan Whigs: Greg Dulli (vocals, guitar); Rick McCollum (guitar); John Curley (bass); Steve Earle (drums).
Additional personnel: Marcy Mays (vocals); Barb Hunter (cello); Harold Chichester (piano, mellotron); Jody Stephens (background vocals).
Engineers: Jeff Powell, John Hampton, John Curley.
Recorded at Ardent Studios, Memphis, Tennessee between May and June 1993, and at Ultrasuede, Cincinnati, Ohio in April 1993.
GENTLEMEN is a rare thing in rock music, a "concept album" so personal and painful that listening to it gives the impression of being privy to something that should never have been made public. Greg Dulli's lyrics about male inadequacies and overcompensation ring with uncontainable self-hatred and loathing. The shifting of emotions--from the brittle and internal to the brutal and external--forms the basis for the stagnancy and decay of the male/female relationships described here.
Opening with a claustrophobic swirl, "If I Were Going" sets the mood, a warm bassline picking at the scabs of Dulli's cracked intonation ("It's all a lie, it's nearly dead, it's in our hope, baby, it's in our bed"). Taking cues from blues, soul, and rock, the Whigs crank out a hybrid 'alternative' sound borne on the scorching guitars of Rick McCollum. After the summation of "Bit into a rotten one now, didn't you?" ("Now You Know") and "I Keep Coming Back," a cover of the Tyrone Davies soul classic, the instrumental "Brother Woodrow/Closing Prayer" adds violin and piano to the mix, finally offering a reprieve from the Whigs' poisonous psychic exorcism. Though not a record to listen to often, GENTLEMEN is a stunning achievement.
Rolling Stone (1/27/94, p.52) - 3 1/2 Stars - Good Plus - "....when the Whigs' dense, near-symphonic blast...coalesces with their brooding intensity, they tug at the heartstrings in ways not much late-period punk rock does..."
Entertainment Weekly (10/1/93, p.56) - "...lyrically, the album's a downer, but the brooding intensity of these anthems-for-the-alienated is as addictive as cheap drugs..."
Q (8/96, p.132) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...GENTLEMEN is the band's best album: Dulli's lyrics are sexy, Rick McCollum's guitar work is relatively free of indie cliche and the songs strike sparks off one another....it was Dulli letting down his...armour which showed the most heart..."
Q (11/93, p.113) - 3 Stars - Good - "...GENTLEMEN augments [the Afghan Whigs'] reputation for making music of serrated sorrowfulness....at [the Afghan Whigs'] best, their's is a musical madness to be compared with the clattering, majestic melancholy of Buffalo Tom..."
Alternative Press (5/01, p.104) - Included in AP's "10 Essential Breakup Albums" - "...In GENTLEMEN's universe, relationships crumble, than drag on too long, and the answer is often self-destruction..."
Melody Maker (1/1/94, p.76) - Ranked #2 in Melody Maker's list of the `Albums Of The Year' for 1993 - "...Like the Stones at their best, stuff to get your fingers sticky in...."
Musician (11/93, p.86) - "...GENTLEMEN is full of what makes the band interesting--odd, ambling guitars and Greg Dulli's skewed songwriting--but a warmer, more dynamic sound serves the record well...."
Village Voice (3/1/94, p.5) - Ranked #17 in the Village Voice's 1993 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll.
NME (Magazine) (10/9/93, p.39) - (9) - Excellent Plus - "...GENTLEMEN is one long guilt purge...[it] towers above all the others..."
NME (Magazine) (12/25/93, p.66) - Ranked #20 in New Musical Express' list of `The Top 50 LPs Of 1993' - "...Grunge was officially proclaimed dead but Cincinatti's Afghan Whigs had been preparing the grave for the past two years...."
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Elektra (Label) 61501
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