Photo: Chris Cuffaro

The Afghan Whigs – “Demon in Profile” (Singles Going Steady)

"Demon in Profile" is both classic and brand new for Afghan Whigs, as its big instrumentation and soaring vocal lines signal a new direction for the band.

Mike Schiller: Somehow, Greg Dulli can recruit Har Mar Superstar for his video, infuse his song with a full horn section and finish it with a straight-up dance beat and extended falsetto notes, and it still sounds like he wrote the song at midnight by candlelight. That’s to his credit, of course — Dulli’s ability to find darkness in unexpected places is one of his great strengths. “Demon in Profile” is both classic and brand new for Afghan Whigs, as its big instrumentation and soaring vocal lines signal a new direction for the band even as it reaffirms their ability to find comfort underground. [8/10]

Chris Ingalls: In Spades, due out in May, is the second album from the Whigs’ 21st century comeback phase, and it’s a delight to have them back. Greg Dulli does his usual Tortured Indie Sex Symbol thing, and the whole band backs him up with a mature, piano-led arrangement that manages to strut but still sound deadly serious. This is a band that may be getting older, but instead of relying on ’90s glory days, they’re building on it. Their best days may still be ahead. [8/10]

Adriane Pontecorvo: There’s nothing bad about “Demon in Profile”, but there’s nothing about it, either. The melody is fine, and Greg Dulli’s voice has held up well over the year, but it doesn’t take long for this single to slide from its promising piano intro down into a dull and comfortable song ready for a half-decent adult alternative radio station. Easy and forgettable. [4/10]

Morgan Y. Evans: Listen to that effortless introduction and how controlled yet bordering on breaking at the seams the soulful vocals are on this. Wow. I love the shit out of the ballsy Metz and the brilliant and savvy Kristin Kontrol. That Mike & The Melvins record redeemed Sub Pop for a ton of unworthy hipster shit they signed since the glory days, For real, though, the Afghan Whigs smoke the stuffing out of 90% of the roster at present. I mean, that is not startling as Greg and company have always been top notch brooders who can actually write, but c’mon. Half these bands need to get over themselves. And I love classic Sub Pop like a camel loves drinking twice a year. But what gives you an ear boner like Mudhoney and Tad used to (and still do) and doesn’t make you kind of want to smack the artists? Not much. This song is bad ass and another redeeming effort for the label. [8/10]

The Afghan Whigs‘ new album In Spades releases 5 May via Sub Pop.

SCORE: 7.00