Mark Lanegan and Duke Garwood: Black Pudding (Heavenly/Mushroom)

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Lanegan and Garwood: Mescalito
Mark Lanegan and Duke Garwood: Black Pudding (Heavenly/Mushroom)

Singer Mark Lanegan is the familiar name here for his work Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age, Isobel Campbell and Soulsavers, but Duke Garwood from London is perhaps less well known.

A multi-instrumentalist with an ear on spooky blues (hence this pairing), he has worked with Seasick Steve, Wooden Wand and Wire, appeared on Lanegan's Blues Funeral (and Lanegan's band with Greg Dulli, the Gutter Twins) and more recently added a clarinet solo on Marshal Dear on Savages' post-punk Silence Yourself.

Here Garwood plays just about everything (there are some added keyboards and guitar on two tracks) on these funereally paced originals and his role is to add that extra discomforting sonic weave alongside Lanegan's distinctively cracked and low brooding style.

There are some bewitching songs here: the creep of Mescalito where Lanegan's up-close vocal is set against the desert-wide soundscape from Garwood's keening guitar;  the two minute tone poem of Last Rung; Garwood's off-kilter piano and strange saw-like tone on Thank You; the moody but exotoc Shade of the Sun . . .

But, that said, there is also something disappointing about much of this, in places the slow tempo doesn't convey the gravitas you might expect (as on Death Rides a White Horse). And their neo-blues Cold Molly barely makes an impact.

Longtime fans of Lanegan's low, melodic mood pieces will doubtless take to this but it does seem a lesser entry in his diverse catalogue, although whets the appetite for more of Garwood (who has at least three solo albums to his credit outside of his guest spots). 

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