Dirty Beaches – Drifters/Love is the Devil (Zoo Music)
On Alex Zhang Hungtai’s David Lynch-inspired debut as Dirty Beaches, 2011’s Badlands, Lynchian themes of being on the run and the myth of the ’50s suburban idyll were reflected in how Hungtai buried his Elvis-like crooning and often romantic melodies under layers of no-wavey distortion and reverb. Recently, though, Hungtai confessed that ‘…this travelling lone-wolf image with the leather jacket and cool hair – that’s a fucking character I made up. That’s not me.’ So who is he then? The impression given by his new double album, Drifters and its moody, mostly instrumental counterpart Love is the Devil, is of an alienated guy who’s self-reflective to an almost masochistic extent. All that loneliness and desire for catharsis manifests itself as his realest and most rewarding work yet.