Original lead guitarist Rick McCollum has left the band, but frontman Greg Dulli told Rolling Stone that it opened up new possibilities for Do To The Beast's writing process:
"I'm very aware of the legacy that we're engaging, because I helped create it. But if we wanted to keep going, we had to go further. Once we decided to do this album without Rick, I felt set free to do whatever I wanted — revisit sounds I used to like and mix them with sounds I'm exploring now. Whether or not someone agrees with my methodology — well, there are no rules in rock & roll. And if there were, I would've surely broken them."
"Parked Outside" kicks off the record, and they floor it from the get go, with gritty guitars forming a massive stereo image, almost drowning out Dulli's powerful vocals. The rock riffs are strong and the drums are huge, but things change right away for "Matamoros," a multi-textured, dynamic tune with a multitude of moods and feelings throughout. The intricate instrumentation is woven together and pulled apart, similar to the following "It Kills," a track marked with morose melodies and quiet piano surging in and out as he sings, "It kills to watch you love another."
The previously heard "Algiers" comes next, with country-inspired guitars and rhythms. Dulli's falsetto soars above, singing wistful lyrics before a chunky guitar solo. The track is typical of the entire album, that is: always changing, with steadily growing layers of instrumentation and thematically dark material.
"Lost In The Woods" carries eerie verses into surprising pop-rock choruses, a stark contrast, but the Whigs fly into the change without batting an eye, almost like an orchestra's segue into a new movement. Part of the musical variety across the record may stem from the fact that Dulli wrote in a different way. Speaking to Rolling Stone, he said:
"For the first time ever, I wrote all the music first; then I wrote the words after — a big mountain to climb. I walked around through the neighborhoods of my life, using my imagination to create environments that I could move around in."
Each song on the record sees new territory, with ever-building layers and lyrical themes acting as the common thread. "The Lottery" finds its home as a '90s throwback and "Can Rova" explores an electronic dance beat, a style "Royal Cream" takes even further with neo-disco rhythms propelling it throughout.
"These Sticks" brings a massive crescendo before it closes Do To The Beast. The record as a whole evolves and explores -- just like each individual song has more textures and feelings than it has lines -- culminating in a climactic chaos before fading out. Stream the whole album above.