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GENTLEMEN is a rare thing in rock music, a "concept album" so personal and painful that listening to it gives the impression of being privy to something that should never have been made public. Greg Dulli's lyrics about male inadequacies and overcompensation ring with uncontainable self-hatred and loathing. The shifting of emotions--from the brittle and internal to the brutal and external--forms the basis for the stagnancy and decay of the male/female relationships describedhere. Opening with a claustrophobic swirl, "If I Were Going" sets the mood, a warm bassline picking at the scabs of Dulli's cracked intonation ("It's all a lie, it's nearly dead, it's in our hope, baby, it's in our bed"). Taking cues from blues, soul, and rock, the Whigs crank out a hybrid 'alternative' sound borne on the scorching guitars of Rick McCollum.After the summation of "Bit into a rotten one now, didn't you?" ("Now You Know") and "I Keep Coming Back," a cover of the Tyrone Davies soul classic, the instrumental "Brother Woodrow/Closing Prayer" adds violin and piano to the mix, finally offering a reprieve from the Whigs' poisonous psychic exorcism. Though not a record to listen to often, GENTLEMEN is a stunning achievement.
Top Customer Reviews
I think the main thing that made the Whigs so unique and compelling was the shuffling of the traditional instrumental roles for a rock band. The bass often flies around wherever it pleases with apparent disregard for the demands of the song. It takes more of a lead guitar role, sometimes even going against the grain of the music with atonal melodies. The guitars and keys therefore have to compensate by sticking tight with the rhythm. But they don't just stick to it, they embrace it, often with repetitive but piercing hooks that leave an ache in your heart. The drums are brilliant and complex, and Greg Dulli's voice is like a rusty knife. He can't really sing but somehow this only adds to what the music is conveying: the darker corners of Greg Dulli's life.
Gentlemen is the apex of the Afghan Whigs output, and it stands as one of my all time favorites. It's quite possibly the darkest most moving cd in my collection. Unfortunately, although the Afghan Whigs produced many albums, none but this one is consistently good. If you really like Gentlemen though, there are some gems here in there amongst their other material.
"Gentleman" is one of those few albums that really comes alive if you listen to it from beginning to end, as you find some tracks lead into one another. One could elaborate on each track individually but in this reviewers opinion, each track is a part of one brilliant, cohesive whole.
I struggle for words when it comes to describing the Whigs own unique style of music. There's blues, jazz, soul and rock roots in almost every chord... it all adds up to one incredible musical experience led by Greg Dulli's rough, passionate vocals. It's just simply The Whigs; there are no other bands whose sound is comparable.
Buy this album while you still can -- it's worth every penny.
Why does any of that matter? Well, the picture tells the story of the man, Greg Dulli, and his (former) band, The Afghan Whigs. The songs on Gentlemen aren't about Gentlemen; they're about men and women who hurt each other and long for each other and for the hurt that the other will inflict. Lyrically, this is strong stuff.
The music serves the lyrics. Angry guitars with more funk than Nirvana and more crooning than Pearl Jam. The Afghan Whigs were never able to break into the mainstream, but came closest on this, their major label release.
Dulli's songwriting lashes out at others as well as himself. The album's major themes are self-loathing, emotionally destructive relationships, and any other unpleasant feelings that Greg Dulli happened to have while he had a pen in his hand.
I give it 4 stars because it's the Whigs best album. I listened to it a lot when it came out, but it hasn't been in the CD player for a while. I only give 5 stars for life changing albums, and not many people would want to change their lives for Greg's circa 1993.
Most recent customer reviews
If there's something about this band that is clear for me is that I'll EVER keep buying cds from these guys. Seems like they're better and better and better. Read morePublished on June 9 2004 by Ricardo Menezes
At first listen this disc can be a little rough, but after that it's near perfect. I can't really compare them to anyone, which I guess means that they're doing their own thing,... Read morePublished on March 2 2004 by H3@+h
The preceding 'Uptown Avondale' ep was the clue. A Holland-Dozier-Holland cover and 'Band Of Gold' slowed down to a grunge-soul classic. Read morePublished on July 23 2003 by Martin Dawson
To reach the correct conclusion (see above), "Gentlemen" is not the easiest place to start, but once you get there you will be happy with the results. Read morePublished on July 14 2003 by Rev. Charles Williams
This album does not sound like anything else, it is quite unique. I see people call it R&B and Soul but I don't find at all as I can hardly listen that kind of music. Read morePublished on June 12 2003 by Guylaine Le Ber
Sadly, I forgot about ths album. But after hearing it again recently, I realized how powerful this CD is.
This came out nearly 10 years ago during my first year of college. Read more
The Afghan Whigs were the best of band of the 90's and this was their best album. In an era where concept albums are a rarity, the Whigs produced this classic gem about love, lust... Read morePublished on Feb. 10 2003
Suffice it to say this is a great release. One of the best i've ever heard, and i'm 43 with over 1700 CD's in my collection spanning 5 decades of music. Read morePublished on Jan. 27 2003