Label: Sub Pop
Catalog #: 70761
Saturnalia is the anticipated first album from The Gutter Twins, the collaboration forged in late 2003 by Mark Lanegan and fellow maverick singer-songwriter Greg Dulli. Saturnalia finds the axis Dulli nicknamed “the Satanic Everly Brothers” going even deeper into the shadows than ever before. Mystical, unpredictable, ultimately masterful, the album both embodies and defies any expectations suggested by the principals’ individual notoriety. Pointedly not resting on the sonic laurels of their previous successes, Saturnalia instead proves rootsy but baroque, handmade yet modernist, teeming with siren melodies that don’t resolve. Produced by Dulli and Lanegan along with the band’s unofficial third member Mathias Schneeberger, Saturnalia’s eerie modal swirls trap the listener in each song’s atmosphere; simultaneously evoking everything from Indian sitars to Appalachian folk and Delta grit, the drones inadvertently create narcotic hooks. Spartan electronica indelibly collides with spooky space blues on “Who Will Lead Us?”; “Idle Hands” fuses Middle Eastern exoticism with shocking guitar riffs that shoot AC/DC boogie into another fucking galaxy. The cumulative effect proves internal yet epic: the netherworld symphonics of Mogwai, Sigur Ros and Bohren und der Club of Gore are touchstones, alongside the sprawling emotions of Pink Floyd, the melodically catchy paranoia of the Beach Boys, the primal confessionals of John Lennon. Still, what Dulli and Lanegan achieve here ultimately feels like the determinedly individual product of two auteurs coming together.
Attention! As we have mentioned from time to time here on the Sub Pop web thingy, most of the LPs that we put out come with an enclosed coupon enabling you to download all of the album’s songs as mp3s FOR FREE. The vinyl format for Saturnalia, for example, includes one of these very coupons.