Soulsavers: It's Not How Far You Fall, It's the Way You Land (V2) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

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Soulsavers: Revival
Soulsavers: It's Not How Far You Fall, It's the Way You Land (V2) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Suffused in religion, redemption, Christian imagery and dark melancholy (aside from the uplifting opener Revival which deliberately recalls Knocking On Heaven's Door), this is an exceptional album -- and one which seems a very long way from what we might loosely call "rock culture".

With guest vocalist Mark Lanegan's solemn baritone everywhere (and Will Oldham on one track, Jimi Goodwin of the Doves on another), the Soulsavers have created an album that is so alarmingly atmospheric and soulfully moody that it is bound to go right past many who might find it too . . . Dense? Dark?

That yearning opener and the eerily funereal version of the Stones' No Expectations are perhaps the most immediately accessible tracks, but each is at the opposite end of a long spectrum: from gospel affirmation to pessimistic blues.

Between is a range of emotions from the gorgeous Spiritual (with the repeated line "Jesus I don't want to die alone") to the brittle Waitsean-blues of Paper Money.

With treated piano, shivering lap steel guitar and washes of Eno-like ambient sounds propping up the broody instrumentals, this is more a journey than an album of songs.

Whatever it is, it is singular and you won't hear another like it for a very, very long time.

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