Saturnalia is the anticipated first album from The Gutter Twins, the collaboration forged in late 2003 by Mark Lanegan and fellow maverick singer-songwriter Greg Dulli. Saturnalia finds the axis Dulli nicknamed "the Satani... more »c Everly Brothers" going even deeper into the shadows than ever before. Mystical, unpredictable, ultimately masterful, the album both embodies and defies any expectations suggested by the principals' individual notoriety. Pointedly not resting on the sonic laurels of their previous successes, Saturnalia instead proves rootsy but Baroque, handmade yet modernist, teeming with siren melodies that don't resolve. Produced by Dulli and Lanegan along with the band's unofficial third member Mathias Schneeberger.« less
Saturnalia is the anticipated first album from The Gutter Twins, the collaboration forged in late 2003 by Mark Lanegan and fellow maverick singer-songwriter Greg Dulli. Saturnalia finds the axis Dulli nicknamed "the Satanic Everly Brothers" going even deeper into the shadows than ever before. Mystical, unpredictable, ultimately masterful, the album both embodies and defies any expectations suggested by the principals' individual notoriety. Pointedly not resting on the sonic laurels of their previous successes, Saturnalia instead proves rootsy but Baroque, handmade yet modernist, teeming with siren melodies that don't resolve. Produced by Dulli and Lanegan along with the band's unofficial third member Mathias Schneeberger.
Greg Dulli-side project continues his winning ways
Paul Allaer | Cincinnati | 05/24/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Looking at many of the reviews here, it appears you either come to this album as a fan of Greg Dulli (The Twilight Singers; Afghan Whigs) or as a fan of Mark Lanegan (The Screaming Trees). Let me state upfront that I am a pretty big Greg Dulli fan. After all he built his initial successes in my very own Cincinnati when he lead the Afghan Whigs in the late 80s and early 90s.
"Saturnalia" (12 tracks; 53 min.)continues a collaboration between Dulli and Lanegan that was started on several tracks on the excellent 2003 Twilight Singers "Blackberry Belle" album. "Saturnalia" crashes in with "The Stations" and then takes off from there. The dark and brooding "All Misery/Flowers" is my favorite track of the album, with great underlying drums (played by Dulli, incidentally) and the songs just drones on (and I mean that in the best of ways), just fabulous. Other highlights include "Idle hands", the pensive "I Was In Love With You" and "Each to Each". The closer "Front Street" (starting off very quitetly and acoustic) somehow feels out of place with the rest of the album and should have been kept off the album.
Most (but not all) of the songs are co-written by Dulli and Lanegan but let's be honest: this feels much more like a Greg Dulli album, and in fact "Saturnalia" fits in musically very nicely along with the Twilight Singers' catalog. One of the reviewers who gave rated this album only 2 stars wrote "Not Enough Lanegan For Me", and I can certainly understand that. For me, I'm quite happy with this realease."
Heaven's Quite A Climb
Tom Chase | London | 04/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Lanegan and Dulli have forever been troubled souls, and "Saturnalia" shows no glimpse of the two lightening up. Lyrically, musically and visually this album is as passionately dark and melancholy as anything in either artist's back catalogue. Don't expect classic folk singalongs about the prairie and summertime joys - expect two wistful men of acumen singing the real dirty blues.
Where "Saturnalia" succeeds most is in fusing the styles and sounds of the two artists. Like all of Lanegan's solo albums, there is an overwhelming sense of maturity and wisdom in his delivery - a feeling that he really has seen some bleak times, far beyond those of the self-wallowing MTV plastics. His voice is as gravely and whiskey-drenched as it has ever been, perfectly matching and emphasising the often gloomy lyrical content. This complements Dulli's higher pitched and more melodic vocals perfectly. The two voices are constantly shifted to great effect; the best examples of this would be "Circle The Fringes" in which Lanegan rips through Dulli's melodic lines with a rumbling quake, instantly blackening the song's atmosphere. If not within the same song, the two deliveries are often placed side by side, such as with Lanegan's Tom Waits styled romp "All Misery" and Dulli's beautiful ballad "The Body".
In terms of song writing "Saturnalia" is successfully varied, and a seamless combination of the two artists. Songs such as "Who Will Lead Us Now", "All Misery", "Bete Noir" and "Seven Stories Underground" sound very reminiscent of Lanegan's solo output, all offering frustrated and brooding lyrics over a sombre folk/blues sound. Dulli's writing is very evident in a few of the more rocking songs (note - more rocking in relation to the brooding dirge elsewhere), such as "God's Children" and "Idle Hands", both of which recall "Gentleman" era Afghan Whigs with driving guitars and a vigorous delivery from Dulli. However, this is not to say "Saturnalia" is merely a mix-match of the two artists' sound - "I Was In Love With You" sounds superbly fresh, starting up like a down tempo Lanegan love song it builds and climaxes into a blistering rock ballad, with Dulli really attacking the vocals to create one of the album's finest moments. The album's closer "Front Street" fashions the album's strongest duet, centred around the chilling lines "We're gonna have us some fun".
"Saturnalia" is yet another remarkable outing from Mark Lanegan, and for me, some of Dulli's work best since the Afghan Whigs heyday. Perfect for fans of either artists, or those simply wanting some real gritty folk blues.
One Of The Best Albums In Years
B. Wilkie | 06/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been a fan of Mark Lanegan's for a long time and I love both his solo work and his work with the Screaming Trees, and I have more recently become a fan of the Afghan Whigs as well, and this album is a beautiful reflection of the attributes that attracted me to both artists. It contains potent lyrics and a haunting dark sound that resounds thoughout every song on the album. Although I don't like it quite as well as I like some of Lanegan's solo works, I believe this album is one of the best to come out in years and I would put it above any other music of this time period. I also note that I agree with one of the other reviewers in that Saturnalia leans more toward the Greg Dulli side than that of Mark Lanegan. Either way, an awesome album that everyone should buy."
My Album of the Year!
David A. Hudson | Atlanta, Ga. | 05/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a huge fan of Lanegan. I loved his work with Screaming Trees and Queens of the Stone Age but was never much into his quieter solo work or of Dulli/Afghan Whigs.
I was reluctant to give this album a shot, but did so out of shear loyalty to Mark Lanegan hoping it would be like his solo album "Bubblegum." Boy was I wrong. I listened to the first few bars of the first two songs and they were dark and rich and immediately swept me away. The production is excellent. The harmonies are wonderful. This disc is diverse and covers a lot of ground. Both their voices compliment one another in a strange way. The album is dark and brooding and moves like the current. I am particularly fond of "God's Children."
If you left the QOTSA album saying to yourself "Wow, wish there was more Lanegan here...." this record is for you. It has claimed the Album of the Year spot for me."
Two Voices That Deserve Accolades
Anthony Huffstutler | Aledo, IL | 05/02/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Great work by two stalwarts in a deteriorating music scene. Perfect for late-night listening. As a long-time fan of Gred Dulli in all of his incarnations, I eagerly awaited this release, and was not disappointed. The two voices combine in always interesting ways, and the songwriting could only come from men who have experienced life the way that these two have. In a manufactured music business, we should all appreciate two master craftsmen at work and at the top of their game.
I recommend the Twilight Singers catalog, especially "Powder Burns" and "A Stitch in Time" EP for anyone who likes this album."