It's always tempting to add up the power behind the names in a supergroup and assume that's how super the new group will be. But that math almost never works, and so it goes with The Gutter Twins, the brilliantly named new project from some of alt-rock's most infamously indulgent players. Greg Dulli (Afghan Whigs, Twilight Singers) and Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees, Queens Of The Stone Age) have worked together before, but Saturnalia is the full-length collaboration that's been bubbling for years, and while that kind of anticipation might be partially to blame for the relative indifference that the album inspires, it's hard to imagine these songs generating more excitement under any other circumstances. Which isn't to say that it lacks redemption—Lanegan's growl and Dulli's sweetly suspicious croon (which has been selling his ass to the ladies for years) work together well, and help take the album into darker and darker corners, whether they're blasting cock-rock riffs or tickling the keys. Saturnalia also benefits from a purposeful atmosphere—as opposed to, say, Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr's Electronic project, which had some great moments but always felt a bit half-assed—but it's unfortunate that the Twins' mission statement seems to be more about mood than memorable songs.
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