The Afghan Whigs announce their first studio album in five years How Do You Burn?, which is set for release on September 9th via Royal Cream/BMG. How Do You Burn?’, their ninth album overall and following on from the brace of widely-acclaimed records they’ve made previously since re-grouping in 2012, ‘Do to the Beast’ (2014) and ‘In Spades’ (2017). ‘How Do You Burn?’ picks up the baton laid down by each of those records and runs it to the horizon.
Work on it was begun in September 2020 - the COVID pandemic having forced Whigs frontman/songwriter Greg Dulli to abandon plans to tour his highly-praised solo album, ‘Random Desire’ - and continued over the next 14 months.
The global pandemic dictated also that the band record largely apart from, and in different locations to, each other: Dulli, his co-producer Christopher Thorn and drummer Patrick Keeler together in California; bassist John Curley, guitarist Jon Skibic and strings man Rick Nelson laying down and engineering their own parts in Cincinnati, New Jersey and New Orleans, respectively. “Once we got the system down, we started flying,” says Dulli.
TRACK LIST:I’ll Make You See GodThe GetawayCatch A ColtJyjaPlease, Baby, PleaseA Line Of ShotsDomino and JimmyTake Me ThereConcealerIn Flames
For his supporting cast, Dulli called upon several serial collaborators including the late Mark Lanegan, who was a regular in Dulli’s Twilight Singers, a partner in The Gutter Twins and a close friend. Lanegan makes his Afghan Whigs debut singing backup vocals on two tracks. “It was Mark who named the album,” Dulli remarked.
Susan Marshall, who sang on the Whigs album 1965, returns to the fray for “Catch A Colt,”one of the album’s standout tracks, loose-limbed like ‘Some Girls’-era Rolling Stones and with the liquid polyrhythms of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Tusk’.
The multi-talented Van Hunt, who toured with the Whigs in 2012 and guested on ‘Do to the Beast’, brings his stacked-up, wall-of-sound vocals to both the plunging, voodoo-blues of ‘Jyja’ and the audacious ‘Take Me There’, transforming the latter, says Dulli, “into this feral gospel song. We sing really well together, but what Van does production-wise… it’s unrelenting.”
Then there’s Marcy Mays, lead vocalist on ‘My Curse’, the torch-song highlight of 1993’s seminal ‘Gentlemen’ album, reprising her role here on the celestial ‘Domino and Jimmy’, playing Stevie Nicks to Dulli’s Lindsey Buckingham. “I wrote that song with Marcy in mind,” says Dulli. “No-one sounds like her; she’s got an incredibly unique, emotional and evocative voice.”
The Afghan Whigs - Dulli, Curley, Nelson, Keeler and with Christopher Thorn now joining the band on guitar - will take ‘How Do You Burn?’ out on the road beginning this spring. Beyond that, says Dulli, their future is gloriously wide open.