The Gutter Twins - Saturnalia

Ross Cunningham 29/02/2008

Rating: 4.5/5

Oscar Wilde said “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”. “The Gutter Twins” are two Sub Pop legends back to blow away the cobwebs from the music industry with their stunning debut album “Saturnalia”. As soon as I heard about the collaboration between Mark Lanegan and Greg Dulli I had a feeling it would be something special and it certainly hasn't left me disappointed in any shape or form. The ex Screaming Trees/current part time QOTSA and Soulsaver Lanegan and Twilight Singer Dulli have created a dark mysterious utterly enthralling record that deserves to be a perennial fixture on everyone's current playlist. Dulli and Lanegan are two voices of authority and experience teaching a new generation how things should be done.

The harmonising on “The Stations” is hypnotic, you'll find yourself being sucked in by the strength and unhinging believability of the vocals. There's a seamless shift into “God's Children” which opens with a soundscape reminiscent of Radiohead's “Street Spirit”. The guitar work is uplifting while the lyrics of the chorus are brooding and melancholy. The third track “All Misery/Flowers” is the first song that has the air of a Lanegan solo track with its rolling throaty vocals and lyrics such as “The way I burn is a son of a bitch”, It would fit nicely on “Whiskey for the Holy Ghost”.

“Idle hands” has a really nasty, dirty almost gothic sound to the guitars and suits Lanegan and Dulli's combined vocal performance perfectly while “Circle the Fringes” starts with a lonely sounding violin and could be straight from the opening sequence of a western. Dulli's voice kicks in, it's strong and melodic and then it's joined by Lanegan's whiskey and nicotine soaked drawl and the song builds with a heavy guitar solo into something different all together. That's true of all of the songs on “Saturnalia” they wind and they build and take on different shapes with each listen.

“I Was In Love With You” is filled with Beatles-esque piano for the first half and military drumming and strings for the later. It all comes together to provide the perfect backdrop for this heartfelt lament. Somewhat surprising is penultimate track “Each to Each” in as much as it has an electronic backbeat and apart from Lanegan and Dulli's strong vocals sounds like nothing else on the album. Along with the undeniable musical talent of Lanegan and Dulli it's the variety that makes “Saturnalia” such an accomplished piece of work.

Saturnalia is released on the 3rd of March