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Review: 'Mark Lanegan Band'

-  Album: 'Gargoyle' -  Label: 'Heavenly Recordings'
-  Genre: 'Rock' -  Release Date: '28th April 2017'

Our Rating:
Recent years have seen Mark knocking out albums out at a steady pace, does Mark. And the songs on them are generally about maintaining a steady pace, too. But while understatement is a Lanegen hallmark, so there has been a clear evolution over the course of ‘Blues Funeral’, covers album ‘Imitations’, and ‘Phantom Radio’, with Lanegan becoming increasingly open in his acknowledgement of his debt to his influences. If ‘Gargoyle’ continues in the same vein as its predecessor, it also showcases a more expansive and muscular sound, as well as a shift towards more uptempo, even overtly rock tunes.

Joined on this outing by long-time collaborators Josh Homme, Greg Dulli and Duke Garwood, much of the album owes its existence to a flurry of collaboration with Rob Marshall, with whom Lanegan previously worked in Soulsavers. The vibe is again very much rooted in the early to mid-eighties

‘Death’s Head Tattoo’ opens in dark post-punk style, a Curesque, chorus heavy, bass strolls over a shuffling mechanised drum while peels of metallic guitar complete the backdrop to Lanagan’s grizzled baritone growl, coming on like Leonard Cohen on ‘First We Take Manhattan’. ‘Beehive’ is a maelstrom of reverby guitars and is strongly reminiscent of Eco and the Bunnymen, with a dash of ‘Automatic’ era Jesus and Mary Chain. One gets the impression that this is no accident.

The late-night psychedelic jazz drone of ‘Sister’, while in no way sounding like The Psychedelic Furs still somehow evokes the spirit of their debut album, due in no small part to the trilling Hammond and drifting sax. Elsewhere, ‘Emperor’ is uncharacteristically jaunty, but of course, the musical bounce is offset by Lanegan’s gallows growl, while ‘Drunk on Destruction’ shares more common ground with I Like Trains’ later sound, manifesting as post rock distilled and refined to concise, cinematic pop. It’s all brought to a surging finale on the expansive, shimmering krautrock-flavoured closer, ‘Old Swan’, stretching out over six and a half glorious minutes. If it has hints of ‘With Or Without You’ about it, it’s forgivable, because Lanegan counters the stadium trappings with his grounded, grainy delivery and an earthiness that punctures any sense of pretension or pomposity, and it rounds off a resoundingly solid – and, if truth be told – impressively song-orientated album.

Mark Lanegan Online

  author: Christopher Nosnibor

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Mark Lanegan Band - Gargoyle