As on 2003's Blackberry Belle, Greg Dulli shines some light on the darker side of his personality on Powder Burns, an album shot through with the afterburn of drug addiction. "I burn, and no one can see me/ And I yearn, 'cos I want that feeling again," he admits in the title track, a slow, smouldering piece saturated with desire, while "Bonnie Brae" skilfully conveys the rapture of narcosis. "I'm just bein' honest," Dulli claims in the drug-dealer ode "Forty Dollars" - but, like the rest of the album, it manages to be both confessional yet mysterious, deeply personal yet strangely abstract. Danger dogs his heels, whether from the girl "dying at my door for another hit" in "My Time", or the ever-present prospect of catastrophe in "There's Been an Accident", where skirling Eastern strings track Dulli's expectant piano chords as he plays the junkie's Russian roulette, yet "still you call that number, till you're crawling under/ Them stones, assorted jones, and all alone". Apart from the intimate "Conversation", with its tendrils of dobro and strings, the arrangements are mostly stadium-sized, dense layers of guitars and keyboards piled up into rolling riffs which, in the opening "I'm Ready", have the heady swagger of Primal Scream.
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