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

The Colourplates: Agony and Ecstasy (Green Monkey)

The Colourplates: Agony and Ecstasy (Green Monkey)

Because we all like to know about something no one else does, Elsewhere is pleased to bring you this collection (subtitled "Post-Punk Art Rock, Seattle 1979 - 1982") by a band that, by... > Read more

Alison Moorer: Mockingbird (New Line)

Alison Moorer: Mockingbird (New Line)

Moorer has quite some story: she is the younger sister of Shelby Lynne, was 14 at time of the murder-suicide of her parents, her ballad A Soft Place to Fall appeared in The Horse Whisperer and... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Highway 101; West Coast USA: My way or the highway

Highway 101; West Coast USA: My way or the highway

Frankly, it doesn’t come much less glamorous than Crescent City in northern California. Fast food outlets encircle our motel and cooking oil hangs heavy in the night air, so I wander the... > Read more

LORETTA LUX PHOTOGRAPHER: A disturbing childhood

LORETTA LUX PHOTOGRAPHER: A disturbing childhood

The child looks strange somehow. There is something you cannot put your finger on. The head slightly too big, the pupils of the eyes a little too penetrating, perhaps? The image radiates silence,... > Read more