While The Afghan Whigs began in the grunge era of the early nineties (they were one of the first non-Pacific Northwest bands signed to Sub Pop Records), they rapidly evolved out of that, into a more mature sound that still had songwriter Greg Dulli’s signature emotion, including R&B and soul. They broke up as the new millennium dawned, like so many nineties alt-rock outfits, only to return, like so many nineties alt-rock outfits. While 2014 reunion record Do the Beast was quite a, “We’re back; we’re a beast,” the new In Spades is more directly in Dulli’s thrusting emotional push.
After the interesting strings-led opener “Birdland” (sure to be the opener on the tour – QRO photos), In Spades brings the dark, emotional, “I love you, it went wrong” Afghan Whigs in pieces like the subsequent “Arabian Heights” and “Demon In Profile”. “Copernicus” is a true Dulli grind, while the group mixes funk into the highly enjoyable “Light As a Feather”. “Toy Automatic” grows and even glows, but the following “Oriole” is more in the line of the evening eighties, watching the city lights go by.
Admittedly, In Spades gets overwrought in its two final numbers, “I Got Lost” and “Into the Floor”, but overall the record brings the power and emotion that you want & need from The Afghan Whigs.