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Dirty Beaches Drifters/Love Is the Devil (Album Review)

This release isn’t a double album in the traditional, White Album or The Wall sense of the term. Rather, it’s comprised of two entirely separate LPs that share a jacket for purely practical purposes. Of the two, Drifters is more likely to illicit comparisons to Dirty Beaches’ 2010 breakthrough, Badlands, as its taut bass lines and drum loops provide a hypnotically repetitive foundation for reverb-swathed croons and squalling guitar muck. It’s a largely enjoyable voyage into the seedy, neon-lit underbelly of big-city nightlife, but the real treat comes when songwriter Alex Zhang Hungtai turns the focus inward for the largely instrumental Love Is the Devil. Sombre and almost narcotically low key, these cinematic mood pieces range from droning synth dirges to hypnotic guitar sketches. This minimal format emphasizes Hungtai’s talent for setting a skin-crawling mood.