Even though the roots of The Afghan Whigs have already been set in the mid-1980’s, How Do You Burn? is just the ninth studio album of the band. Five years after their last album In Spades, the band is releasing this set of songs on 9th September 2022. Here is my review.
The Afghan Whigs – About The Artists
The roots of the Afghan Whigs are already dating back to 1986, when the band has been founded the very first time. They broke up in 2001 and after a short reuinion in 2006, the band is active since 2011. The alternative rock band is located in Cincinnati, Ohio. The US-Americans are thereby lead by Greg Dulli (vocals, guitar, keyboards) and John Curley (bass guitar). They are both founding members of the project and were the backbone of the project the whole band history. The three other members are Patrick Keeler (drums), Christopher Thorn (guitar) and multi-instrumentalist and backing singer Rick G. Nelson.
After a few rather less successful studio albums, especially the releases Gentlemen (1993) and Black Love (1996) lead to remarkable US and international chart positions. The band is nowadays still quite successful in the United Kingdom and in Flemish Belgium, where the last two albums even been Top 10 releases. Two 1990’s singles, Debonair and Honky’s Ladder, made it into the UK Singles Charts.
The Afghan Whigs – How Do You Burn? – Track by Track
The ten track album lasts 40 minutes.
1. I’ll Make You See God
The opener sounds a bit like the soundtrack of a dark version of the Easy Rider movie. A soundtrack for the road – but with a very alternative touch. That definitely draws attention and leads to some nice listening moments. Good starter.
2. The Getaway
The second track of the album is a bit of slower, but creates a great atmosphere, which is even increasing over time. Some parts almost have psychedelic touch, but then turn into rather melodic elements. Nice.
3. Catch A Colt
Catch A Colt is one of the hidden gems of the album. A special element is the return on Susan Marshall, who had already collaborated with the band on their 1965 album. Very intense almost four and a half minute listen.
The fourth track of the album has a blues heart, but comes with dark, very intense, frightening style. The press kit calls the song a “voodoo-blues” track, which is a nice way of phrasing it.
5. Please, Baby, Please
There is still a bit of a blues touch in Please, Baby, Please, but the key element of this song is – without a doubt – the lovely melodic line from the organ. The steady rhythm also gives a bit of a pop-ish touch. The song has a lot of bits and pieces, which are really fun to explore.
6. A Line of Shots
The last single release on this album (as at the time of publishing the album) is A Line of Shots. From the very first moment, the song goes for a hot and very present start. I feel that the song feels a bit of monotonous and not as versatile as the track before, for example.
7. Domino And Jimmy
The Afghan Whigs work with quite a lot of musicians on this album, who have worked with the US-Americans before. Domino and Jimmy, for example, is having Marcy Mays as a guest musician, who has already been a guest singer on a song of their 1993 Gentlemen album. The song feels very modern to me at the beginning, I also like the way the keyboards are leading the track. However, I feel it is a bit too long and tires me a bit while listening.
8. Take Me There
Take Me There comes with a very different sound. The band compares the song with a gospel track. The repeating What are you waiting for creates a very dramatic element over this song. It does come with a lot of repeating elements, but I just cannot neglect that I love to listen to it.
One thing I really love about How Do You Burn? is that the plot of the album is very relatable. Even though the songs have very different characters, they nicely work one after another. Concealer is a beautiful example for that. It feels to be very close to Take Me There, but then defines its very own style. Nice one!
10. In Flames
In Flames is indeed the great finale (and my favorite song of the album). It feels nostalgic, has a nice touch of soul. Just a beautiful rocker with some really neat melodic elements. Thumbs up for this closer.
The Afghan Whigs – How Do You Burn? – Spotify
Here is the album on Spotify:
The Afghan Whigs – How Do You Burn? – My View
I don’t like each and every part of it, but overall How Do You Burn? is a nice composition of songs and a great listen. The band shows their great talent and potential. Very nice 40 minutes for alternative rock lovers.
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