After 30 years spanning The Afghan Whigs and The Gutter Twins, not to mention more collaborations and contributions that can be counted, it's incredible that Random Desire is Dulli's first, full solo album. The closest that Dulli got before this was 2005's Amber Headlights, a collection of tracks originally abandoned after the death of his close friend and film director, Ted Demme in 2002. Its three-year, later than scheduled release meant that it slipped under the radar and, as a collection of tracks rather than a full, cohesive album, wasn't really seen as a debut solo composition.
What we have in Random Desire then, is typical Afghan Whigs fare, coalesced with Dulli's extravagant, personal lyrics and sung with typical aplomb, even when he's wearing his heart on his sleeve.
Deciphering the lyrics is for the more poetically minded but on an album solely written by Dulli, nothing less should be expected. It's clear though that love is lost, old flames are recalled, and images of smoky cocktail bars, ballrooms and neon strung sidewalks are manhandled through the haze of Dulli's memories. It's some journey. 'Scorpio' has a melody that punches and with the sinister, eastern feel of 'A Ghost' followed by a delightful mix of electronic beats and horns on 'Lockless', the listener roams the streets hand in hand with Dulli, lost in an erotic dream until 'Slow Pan's harp strings close with him telling the listener he would do anything to feel the fires of desire again.
Random Desire is nothing short of a masterpiece. Musically, it pulls in one direction while the lyrics grab hold of you and rip you to another. The only negative would be why it's taken so long for Greg Dulli to create a solo album after so many years of collaborations. Perhaps it just takes this long to get it right. And get it right, he has done. Hopefully it won't be Dulli's only solo work. More Random Desire would be more than welcome.