Here’s a chance for a good old history lesson that involves the 90s’ grunge icons Screaming Trees, Seattle super group Mad Season, Queens of the Stone age, Isobel Campbell and Greg Dulli’s Gutter Twins. What do they all have in common? The answer of course is Mark Lanegan.
Under the moniker of The Mark Lanegan Band they brought you 2012’s ‘Blues Funeral’. Two years on, it’s time for the follow up which comes in the form of ‘Phantom Radio’, released via Heavenly Records. Mark hasn’t rested on his laurels, the man is more than prolific, releasing a solo LP inbetween proving his constant efforts to fill the world with his passionate music.
‘Phantom Radio’ is fuelled with an ambient-electro vibe, moulded together with Lanegan’s potent vocals that are reminiscent of the Screaming Trees ‘Sweet Oblivion’ album. The combination of him and Layne Staley provided one of the most emotional albums of my generation, ‘Above’, by Mad Season.
So, back to ‘Phantom Radio’, the opening track, ‘Harvest Home’ soothes the darkness that surrounds with an electro beat, Lanegan uses an ‘app’ called FunkBox, which made its debut in his previous 2012 album, ‘Blues Funeral’.
Lanegan’s lyrics search to reminisce about lost souls, the soothing sound that emanates from within him allow the listener to be uneasy with their peaceful time. Duke Garwood (guitarist), is a musician who, as a talented solo performer blends in his dark haunting style with some eerie melodies.
‘Floor of the Ocean’ has a meditative beat that blends beautifully with Mark’s tones. Words seem to float through a smoke filled room with standout track, ‘The Killing Season’, dark lyrics, “Tonight they hang Jerry, tonight they hang Jack”, the power in his voice is unlike anyone else’s.
‘I Am the Wolf’ has an acoustic setting. Featuring lyrics like “I’ve been dying since the day I was born, that much I know is true” a flowing sense of despair is played into the air. This isn’t the music that you would see on the likes of ‘X Factor’, this has feeling, soul, emotion and a work ethic that surpasses any manufactured product that the likes of Mr Cowell can conjure.
“Oh momma momma please, please don’t kill the messenger man”, lifted from the eloquent ‘The Wild People’ has the perfect sound that befits a dream sequence, listening to this I picture an eerie image that will later wake me with a jolt.
‘Phantom Radio’ is for all those “Thirty-Somethings” that lived their teenaged years peering through their long haired greasy curtains, hoping that no one speaks to them while at the same time hating the world for not speaking to them. We have moved on with the music of our youth. Mark Lanegan stands tall, keeping this music real, produced from his heart.
Catch the band live throughout Europe and the U.S and witness Mark Lanegan, the Tom Waits of my generation.
Floor of the Ocean
The Killing Season
I am the Wolf
Torn Red Heart
Waltzing in Blue
The Wild People
Death Trip to Tulsa
Review by Mark Wincott