The Afghan Whigs are the most accessible abstract heavy rock and roll band around. By which I mean that they almost never have hooks. They don’t have catchy lyrics. Their songs are deep and arresting introspection, and they feel as if they have emerged from the mud, screaming, wrestling, crying, and aching to be free.

Yeah, like that.

And yet, there’s songs like “Light as a Feather” that will still find themselves in your head. And then there’s Oriole, which, if you abandon yourself to reason, will take you on a bumpy journey of recognizable, unrecognizable themes, soaring and crashing.

Greg Dulli left the band to form the Twilight Singers, and six terrific albums later he returned to make this: It’s like hardcore ambient dreampop. It’s a nest of contradictions. They’re all here: Dave Rosser and Jon Skibic grinding on guitar, drummer Patrick Keeler, multi-instrumentalist Rick Nelson, and bassist John Curley.

If you liked the Afghan Whigs before, this is them times twenty.

Here’s a sampler:

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