The Afghan Whigs – Do to the Beast The Afghan Whigs – Do to the Beast

The Afghan Whigs - Do To The Beast (2014)

The Afghan Whigs – Do To The Beast (2014)

I’ve been calling this record Do the Beast for a good two weeks and that’s wrong. It’s Do TO the Beast (emphasis added) and that little bit of preposition seems to really make all the difference when it comes to understanding the sonic palette of The Afghan Whigs’ first record in sixteen years.

“How the FUCK is that?” you ask.

Passivity, man. Plain and simple.

When I plug in a record called “Do the Beast” coming from a band as revolting and revered as The Afghan Whigs (whose whole oeuvre is a shameless display of the male id, unfurled, in a rabid chemical haze) I expect a certain forceful depravity. A call to illicit action that satisfies the Moor’s sin as readily as a Crowley binge in praise of Baphomet.

I want to hear the creep on his death march, twelve steps down and a decade off from the easy sleazy peace that was the French Quarter psalm of 1965. I want the killer of Black Love sublimating his blood lust into the sadistic authority of Gentlemen or the masochistic temptations of Congregation or both with such frank intimacy the boundaries of sexual morass are blurred forever in a torrent of sweat, tears and cum.

I want something determined, chaotic and erring.

Instead I have Do to the Beast and when I listen to the record’s lazy aged rehash of Greg Dulli’s sex assassins, bemoaned and the boozy bluesy ghost of the Midwestern soul that made the band’s first spring of existence so troubled and thrilling, all I can hear is the fucking homonym.

Due to the Beast.

And that name gives this record a sort of sense. It plays on the debt Dulli’s gotta pay to keep playing under the moniker that made him great even if half the band is missing. It nods to the monster of corporate enterprise the band was forced to satisfy in their Elektra/Sony years before returning to the haven of Sub Pop. Shit, it even works as an acknowledgement of/admonition against all the notions of Dulli being an unrepentant junkie prick.

Gutter Twins?

Fuck you.

But it’s not “Due” is it? It’s “Do” and that makes the name silly and lazy and cryptic for the sake of college cinema class and that has me so infuriated I’m running all the way back to Big Top Halloween for some distant semblance of nihilistic comfort because – even in their most shambolic of inceptions – The Afghan Whigs were always a remarkable fucking band. They played hard and ruddy and honest in a way none of their peers (or followers) ever could. They hit on the naked ambition of the cocksure and the dark consequence of conquest. In the days young men were ashamed of their penis’ heteronormative tendencies, they played fantastically noir panty-ripping odes to drunks, pussy and death like Ham on Rye for the post graduate set and though they might not have met the success their raw talent warranted, at least, they found a handsome place in perpetuity.

Now that’s ruined.

Not ruined, so much as marred and I can get past that. I can forget this flat endeavor ever happened and stick with the greased white soul so many women I respect so adamantly loathed because I can tell myself I was up in it back when.

And that’s gotta mean something to a man.

Do to the Beast Tracklist:
01. Parked Outside
02. Matamoros
03. It Kills
04. Algiers
05. Lost in the Woods
06. The Lottery
07. Can Rova
08. Royal Cream
09. I Am Fire
10. These Sticks

The Afghan Whigs - Do to the Beast, reviewed by Charles on 2014-04-21T06:23:27-07:00 rating 2.6 out of 5

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