Afghan Whigs

Unbreakable
(A Retrospective 1990-2006)

Elektra/Rhino

So Greg Dulli either reveled in being an asshole or it was all an act, but whichever the case, and who ever said nice had anything to do with rock’n’roll, that tale is very old news at this point.

What's still relevant is the band's music, which judging from this absurdly overdue career summation, remains an anomaly from the late 90's heyday rush of alt rock. The stylistic amalgam they managed to achieve succeeds in being both harder edged and yet looser and funkier than most of their white, guitar wielding, grungified contemporaries. A vicious live act, with Dulli's madness as its whirling, snarling centerpiece, the Whigs records, which by their swan song 1998's 1965 had softened and become more overtly R&B–oriented capture some of that feral energy, yet manage to flirt with metal ("Turn on The Water"), full-on punk funk ("Debonair"), a gentler, bigger–sounding soul sway, ("66") and the kind of loud, evil$#150;lyric–ed diatribe Dulli made into his trademark in the immortal in "Be Sweet" from 1993's Gentlemen which is the second half, the Elektra half, of the bands back–to– back masterpieces along with 1991's Congregation on Sub Pop. A surprisingly effective cover of Holland/Dozier/Holland’s "Come See About Me" leaves no doubt about where, despite the punk howls and crashing guitars, the band's true heart lay. Dulli's hand in compiling this collection shows in some of the idiosyncratic choices—"Let Me Lie to You" instead of "Tonight"—but then hits compilations always incite quibbling. Along with the Posies, the Whigs were the grunge era's secret weapon.

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