Highlights: Goddess, Domina, Beyond Good And Evil, Streets Of West Memphis
If you thought Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ latest was a little too soft, you might want to hear the latest album by this Australian band. And that, mind you, is not a vain reference limited to geography and cheerless band names. Back in the 80’s people like Mick Harvey and Rowland S. Howard used to play for Crime & The City Solution, which should give you some general idea of what you might expect from American Twilight. Particularly if I tell you that the singing of the band’s vocalist (Simon Bonney) is not unlike that of a significantly more dramatic, powerful Mick Harvey.
Dark (don’t you hate the word?), intense stuff. “Goddess” is a perfect opener: pounding, assertive, anthemic. “Riven Man” is one catchy, repetitive groove that works. “My Love Takes Me There” is another song here that contrasts instrumental heaviness with a perfectly lovely melody. “Domina” is a slow-burning (as in burning), highly addictive epic. “The Colonel” with its edgy, ragged guitars/drum arrangement is maddening yet effective. “Beyond Good End Evil” is a truly Cave-esque ballad, beautiful and passionate. “American Twilight”, however, crash lands as soon as it starts: the opening is unnecessarily pedestrian and dumb, as is the actual song. Sadly. But who cares when we finish with the album’s finest song, “Streets Of West Memphis”, that with its violin, haunting melody and female vocals reaches absolutely beguiling heights.
Which means that other than the unfortunate title track, there’s nothing wrong about American Twilight. The whole thing sounds like one powerful, riveting epic. Dark, yes, but glorious. I can’t recommend it enough.