Seemingly every generation of rock has its iron-man survivor who’s the exception to the “better to burn out than fade away” rule. The granddaddy of this motley crew is of course Keif, who can’t be slayed by mountains of drugs or plunges from palm trees. Neil Young probably did enough heroin to kill ten men but is somehow still around. Out of the ’90s, a decade that saw a sad list of musicians felled by substance abuse, the miraculous survivor has to be Greg Dulli, for whom sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll has often not been an empty clichï¿½.
Appropriate, then, that Dulli is teaming up with Mark Lanegan, another ’90s stay-over who may not share Dulli’s bad-boy past but has a voice gravelly and growly enough to make you believe he’s seen the dark sides of many days. The pair will release an album as the Gutter Twins next year. As a preview, Lanegan (quite the collaborator: see also Isobel Campbell, QOTSA) appears on two of the five songs on this Twilight Singers EP. One is “Live With Me,” an appropriately cinematic cover of a lesser-known Massive Attack song. The other is “Flashback,” which is more of a true duet will Dulli.
The other guest on Stitch is Joseph Arthur, apparently apprenticing with the two elder statesmen in the School of Hard-Knock Vocals. Arthur’s voice is just as smoky and husky on “Sublime” as Lanegan’s is elsewhere.
What does Dulli do in all of this? Not much of anything different than on past Twilight Singers offerings. Sweaty, impassioned blooze-rock abounds. Dulli’s soul-man schtick can be downright embarrassing at times, as when, on “Flashback,” he croons the high school diary-like lyrics, “There’s something mystic in the soul connection/ There’s something magic in your misty eyes.”
The short set ends nicely with “The Lure Would Prove too Much.” The song employs samples of melancholy answering-machine messages, reminiscent of “Verti-Marte,” the standout track from the band’s debut.