Mark Lanegan Band -‘Blues Funeral’ (4AD)
It’s been eight years since Mark Lanegan’s last solo album, the (rightly) highly regarded Bubblegum. Since then, as well as work with Queens Of The Stone Age, he’s also made no less than three albums with former Belle & Sebastian Chanteuse Isobel Campbell. I love all three of those records – and yet I am pleased to be able to report that Blues Funeral sounds absolutely nothing like any of them.
This album opens with the frankly incredible ‘The Grace Diggers Song.’ Time it was, it might have been appropriate to say that this was worth the price of the album alone – but that may be a pointless things to say to the iTunes generation. Either way, this has been the free track doing the rounds, it’s a fantastic start to what continues to be a great album right the way through.
What Lanegan manages to do so well right across the course of the album is to marry the spirit of Johnny Cash, Tom Waits and Nick Cave to produce a gothic-sounding (without being goth, if you catch my meaning) sound that is all his own. He certainly builds opon much of his work over the last decades plus, without ever sounding particularly reminiscent of QOTSA, Isobel Campbell or his old band Screaming Trees. His voice seems to get ever deeper – the only two men I can think of who sound any deeper are Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits (both of whom have also released excellent albums in last few months).
The strength of ‘The Grave Diggers Song’ is such that this may well be the track that gets much of the attention, though ‘Bleeding Muddy Water’ and ‘St. Louis Elegy’ are pretty fine too.
Certain to do well in end of year lists, including mine.
Blues Funeral is out now on 4AD.
Mark Lanegan Band -‘The Grave Diggers Song.’ mp3 This MP3 has been removed DESPITE the fact it is still freely available AND I gave the album a great write-up.