The Afghan Whigs – Up in It

ARTIST: The Afghan Whigs  220px-Afghan_Whigs_-_Up_in_It
TITLE: Up in It
SINGLES: Retarded
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Long time fans and Sub Poppers, yes. Otherwise…
LINEUP: Greg Dulli, John Curley, Rick McCollum, Steve Earle
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Garage-ish band signs with Sub Pop and starts transition to a more soulful version of themselves, but are still a bit unpolished at this date.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: It doesn’t take long for Dulli to say his first 12-letter curse word in the first song. It’s the second song where McCollum uses all of his effects pedals to great work. The third song has Dulli bragging about being a really bad guy. Yep, the Whigs had a lot of their elements in place early on.

If you know the Whigs from their later material, you may be in for a surprise. They hadn’t fully incorporated the soul and R&B elements that they would later – and Dulli wasn’t as suave and sophisticated as he was in their later years.

What we have here is a garage band with some R&B swing to it and attitude all over the place. It makes for an interesting and compelling listen, but there are rough edges that the band would smooth out soon enough. The garage-ish band arrangements make some of the songs too dense.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This wasn’t their first album – they self-released a record that had very limited distribution but that turned the head of Sub Pop.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: The CD added four songs from their self-released first album.

GRADE: B: The Whigs start on their dark, noir path, but the music’s rough edges make some of it a slog.

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