The Afghan Whigs’ first new song in five years, “I’ll Make You See God,” is raw emotion. Frontman Greg Dulli’s lyrics don’t make much sense — there’s something about everything becoming “ebony,” and something else about kissing the night awake, and then there’s his pretentious French pronunciation of “infini” — but, as with many Afghan Whigs songs, Dulli sings these words in a way that makes them seem profound. When paired with the song’s lusty guitar line, courtesy of new member Christopher Thorn, and John Curley’s bass, they help become sort of an apocalyptic mood piece.
The Whigs, of course, are no strangers to catastrophic vignettes, but “I’ll Make You See God” — which arrives via the upcoming PlayStation game Gran Turismo 7 and ahead of the band’s spring tour— finds them making a wholly more unholy racket than usual. Where they previously summoned tempestuous soul music backdrops and imbued them with alt-rock angst on Nineties gems like “Gentlemen” and “What Jail Is Like,” “I’ll Make You See God” is a noisier, more chaotic affair with simpler guitar lines that recall mid-Aughts garage-rock revival bands like the Black Angels and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. With Dulli suffering his usual dark-night-of-the-soul outbursts, it becomes a Whigs song. It’s possibly their most direct presentation of abstract passion ever.
By the end of it, Dulli is singing, “You make the body wake/You make the body ache.” As with the best Afghan Whigs songs, “seeing God” is more carnal than religious when Dulli sings about it.