"Ladies, let me tell you about myself/ I have a dick for a brain and my brain is going to sell my ass to you," sings Afghan Whigs frontman Greg Dulli. "She wants love, and I still want to fuck." This dark ditty, "Be Sweet," is perhaps the brashest (and best) of the Whigs' forays into the mind of the male predator. Nattily attired (absent Urge Overkill's self-conscious camp), they're alt-rock's finest soul band. Dulli gets most of the attention for his slithery bar-bound croon and emotionally damaged romantic lyrical ambivalence. Not enough is said about guitarist Rick McCollum's expressionistic post-punk playing. His jagged peals vacillate from lonely anguish to stabbing violence, fitting neatly within the rhythm section's soulful groove.
The band broke up in 2001, and other than recording a couple new tracks for a retrospective, had demonstrated little interest in returning. Dulli now asserts this is just a one-off project and that he remains dedicated to Twilight Singers and Gutter Twins with Mark Lanegan. Yet the Whigs have released a couple of free downloads, including a cover of Frank Ocean's "Lovecrimes." We'll see. —Chris Parker