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 at Elsewhere articles index

British Sea Power: Do You Like Rock Music? (Rough Trade)

British Sea Power: Do You Like Rock Music? (Rough Trade)

The title of this glisteningly melodic album is doubtless rhetorical -- but these guys also seem to like Brian Wilson's ambitious pop symphonies, ambient music in the manner of Brian Eno, Paul... > Read more

Andrew McKenzie: The Edge of the World (Arch Hill)

Andrew McKenzie: The Edge of the World (Arch Hill)

Andrew McKenzie is the singer-guitarist in the New Zealand band Grand Prix which has long delivered a very pointed kind of slightly snarling alt.country with a rock'n'roll heartbeat and a dark,... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

POP TO POPISM (2014): The cultural shift in contemporary art

POP TO POPISM (2014): The cultural shift in contemporary art

In the early Sixties just before the Beatles conquered America through a combination of art, smarts and image – and shifted the coordinates of popular culture to Britain – America... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Ryan Munroe from Band of Horses

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Ryan Munroe from Band of Horses

Band of Horses are an American group which a select but growing audience in New Zealand has embraced, largely on the strength of them touring here early (earlyish) in their career . . . and then... > Read more