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Gentlemen [Deluxe Edition] [Digipak]

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Performer Notes
  • Afghan Whigs: Greg Dulli (vocals, guitar); Rick McCollum (guitar); John Curley (bass); Steve Earle (drums).
  • Additional personnel: Marcy Mays (vocals); Barb Hunter (cello); Harold Chichester (piano, mellotron); Jody Stephens (background vocals).
  • Engineers: Jeff Powell, John Hampton, John Curley.
  • Recorded at Ardent Studios, Memphis, Tennessee between May and June 1993, and at Ultrasuede, Cincinnati, Ohio in April 1993.
  • Personnel: Greg Dulli (vocals); Rick McCollum (guitar); Barb Hunter (cello); Harold Chichester (piano, Mellotron); Steve Earle (drums).
  • Audio Mixers: Greg Dulli; Jeff Powell.
  • Liner Note Author: Bob Gendron.
  • Photographer: Bill Phelps.
  • The Afghan Whigs' sound was growing larger by the release during the days on Sub Pop, so the fact that Gentlemen turned out the way it did wasn't all that surprising as a result ("cinematic" was certainly the word the band was aiming for, what with credits describing the recording process as being "shot on location" at Ardent Studios). While Gentlemen is no monolith, it is very much of a piece at the start. While "If I Were Going" opens things on a slightly moodier tip, it's the crunch of "Gentlemen," "Be Sweet," and "Debonair" that really stands out, each of which features a tightly wound R&B punch that rocks out as much as it grooves, if not more so. Greg Dulli's lyrics immediately set about the task of emotional self-evisceration at the same time, with lines like "Ladies, let me tell you about myself -- I got a dick for a brain" being among the calmer points. The album truly comes into its own with "When We Two Parted," though, as sad countryish guitars chime over a slow crawling rhythm and Dulli's quiet-then-anguished detailing of an exploding relationship. From there on in, things surge from strength to greater strength, sometimes due to the subtlest of touches -- the string arrangement on "Fountain and Fairfax" or the unexpected, resigned lead vocal from Scrawl's Marcy Mays on "My Curse," for instance. Other times, it's all the much more upfront, as "What Jail Is Like," with its heartbroken-and-fierce combination of piano, feedback, and drive building to an explosive chorus. Dulli's blend of utter abnegation and masculine swagger may be a crutch, but when everything connects, as it does more often than not on Gentlemen, both he and his band are unstoppable. ~ Ned Raggett
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (1/27/94, p.52) - 3 1/2 Stars - Good Plus - "....when the Whigs' dense, near-symphonic blast...coalesces with their brooding intensity, they tug at the heartstrings in ways not much late-period punk rock does..."

Entertainment Weekly (10/1/93, p.56) - "...lyrically, the album's a downer, but the brooding intensity of these anthems-for-the-alienated is as addictive as cheap drugs..."

Q (8/96, p.132) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...GENTLEMEN is the band's best album: Dulli's lyrics are sexy, Rick McCollum's guitar work is relatively free of indie cliche and the songs strike sparks off one was Dulli letting down his...armour which showed the most heart..."

Q (11/93, p.113) - 3 Stars - Good - "...GENTLEMEN augments [the Afghan Whigs'] reputation for making music of serrated [the Afghan Whigs'] best, their's is a musical madness to be compared with the clattering, majestic melancholy of Buffalo Tom..."

Alternative Press (5/01, p.104) - Included in AP's "10 Essential Breakup Albums" - "...In GENTLEMEN's universe, relationships crumble, than drag on too long, and the answer is often self-destruction..."

Melody Maker (1/1/94, p.76) - Ranked #2 in Melody Maker's list of the `Albums Of The Year' for 1993 - "...Like the Stones at their best, stuff to get your fingers sticky in...."

Musician (11/93, p.86) - "...GENTLEMEN is full of what makes the band interesting--odd, ambling guitars and Greg Dulli's skewed songwriting--but a warmer, more dynamic sound serves the record well...."

Village Voice (3/1/94, p.5) - Ranked #17 in the Village Voice's 1993 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll.

NME (Magazine) (10/9/93, p.39) - (9) - Excellent Plus - "...GENTLEMEN is one long guilt purge...[it] towers above all the others..."

NME (Magazine) (12/25/93, p.66) - Ranked #20 in New Musical Express' list of `The Top 50 LPs Of 1993' - "...Grunge was officially proclaimed dead but Cincinatti's Afghan Whigs had been preparing the grave for the past two years...."
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