In 2004 Mark Lanegan released his sixth solo album Bubblegum, so why has it taken eight years for the seventh? Probably because of his numerous collaborations with Isobel Campbell, Greg Dulli and UNKLE. Blues Funeral continues where its predecessor left off. Heavy on the beat, dark, and lyrically intense. These are now considered the staples of music featuring Mark Lanegan, which prompted Josh Homme to rescue his career by dragging him into Queens of the Stone Age all those years ago.
‘The Gravediggers Song’, a typical pounding and throbbing song with growling vocals present as ever, is thrown that little piece of guitar magic by guest Josh Homme. The minimalist element established on Bubblegum has not been left behind as the aching bass in the verses of ‘St. Louis Elegy’ and ‘Phantasmagoria Blues’ will testify.
It’s hard to think of another artist who can achieve such a commanding tone with such a small range (due of course to whiskey and cigarettes). The smoky gravel has always lent itself well to his lyrics: “Will they lower me down because I’m wicked? Will they lower me down to my shame?”.
‘Ode to Sad Disco’ is the biggest departure from Lanegan’s usual style, however, having more in common with his work on the Soulsavers. It’s almost 80s electronica with a gothic, new romantic twist.
If previous albums haven’t quite delivered all that this man can bring to a record in terms of presence then it will surely be found here. No doubt he will take it all in his stride as a quiet and intense man (Watch him live to get a real sense of just how hard he squeezes the mic stand). What you won’t find here is happiness. Hardly surprising with song titles such as ‘Grey Goes Black’ and ‘Bleeding Muddy Water’.
This may not be much of a departure from the norm for Mark Lanegan but it is certainly most welcome after such a long break. If it takes this long for such a full-blooded and dark effort then he can take all the time he needs for album number nine. For fans of Marks acoustic music, look for the live bootleg of the Leeds gig from the last tour.
Picture Credit: alterna2