Mark Lanegan Band: Blues Funeral (4AD)

 |   |  1 min read

Mark Lanegan Band: Haborview Hospital
Mark Lanegan Band: Blues Funeral (4AD)

As with Nick Cave, Mark Langean knows the idiom that suits his mood and voice best . . . and it is a similarly dark place, as the title of this deeply impressive album suggets.

But Lanegan -- who has appeared in these pages on albums by the Queens of the Stone Age, Gutter Twins, Soulsavers and others (see here) -- knows how to mix up the misery and gothic imagery in music which has a thrilling forward momentum (the opener Gravedigger's Song), slightly trippy alt.pop (Gray Goes Black which opens "Please don't turn off my radio, not while the rope's still swinging") and gloom soaked ballads (St Louis Elegy with his Twilight Singers pal Greg Dulli, the emotionally striking and melodic Harborview Hospital and Deep Black Vanishing Train).

And of course there are variants on ancient blues (the menacingly slow Bleeding Muddy Water which hauls itself from the black swamp, the crunching Riot in my House, the appropriately entitled Phantasmagoria Blues).

But Lanegan also mixes the sonic pot by bringing in electronica for songs which sound like they come from a Goth dance club in the Midlands (Ode to Sad Disco which owes a nod to Bauhaus) and material which seems to have escaped from a decent U2 album (Quiver Syndrome with its Edge-like guitar backdrop).

This is an album of hellhounds riding, black light and smoke, blood and tears, and of contained emotion . . . although they let themselves stretch on the closer, the seven minute, relentlessly ominous Tiny Grain of Truth.

Lanegan gets some discreet but stellar assistance here (Josh Homme, Dulli, Chris Goss, numerous guitarists) but this is very much his own vision. The unsettling electronic touches and disturbing guitar effects just add that extra frisson of fright and menace to his glowering but melodic vocals.

This is, as the signs warn, "a dark ride".

Mark Lanegan answers the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire here. Sort of.

Share It

Your Comments

CLIVE - Feb 21, 2012

Yes,this is a great piece of work by Mark and can lead into checking out his efforts with Queens, Soulsavers,Isabel Campbell and Gutter Twins with Greg Dullie.And from Greg Dullie you follow on to the Twilight Singers and then to the little known,but marvellous Afgan Whigs.All the above is essential stuff!

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Sam RB: Queen Street Acoustics (samrb.com)

Sam RB: Queen Street Acoustics (samrb.com)

Auckland songwriter Sam RB has been met with some skepticism (if not outright cynicism) by many mainstream music writers on account of her song for the New Zealand Olympic Team (music... > Read more

Keith Richards: Crosseyed Heart (Republic)

Keith Richards: Crosseyed Heart (Republic)

Before we answer the only question anyone seems to be asking about this album — “Is it any good?” – let's just declare our hand: For many decades it's been our firmly... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

DAVID S. WARE: The price of free

DAVID S. WARE: The price of free

When the histories of jazz in the 20th century are published one name from the last two decades could loom unnaturally large: Wynton Marsalis. In some books he'll be hailed as the man who... > Read more

Dub Inc: Paradise (Naive)

Dub Inc: Paradise (Naive)

Although little known in this country, the multi-culti Dub Inc from France coming here for Womad this weekend have been around since the late Nineties, have played in over 50 countries and released... > Read more