Mark Lanegan appears genuinely incapable of making a bad album. Despite this being recorded primarily on a smartphone (!) the production doesn't lack humanity or feel; the clarity is in contrast to Blues Funeral's grungy, slightly sludgy feel (which I like) but it's no less appealing.
Lanegan's voice, too, is less gravelly than we're used to but that's no problem either. The standard Lanegan trope of pre-damnation dread is well in evidence (Judgement Time, No Bells on Sunday, and more) and, though the gentler songs have received a lot of acclaim, I still prefer the uptempo and harder and darker pieces.
Dry Iced, introducing the bonus EP, is a good example. The very best tracks are neatly stacked at the start and end of each disc- the fabulous grind of Death trip to Tulsa, the aforementioned Dry Iced, the wonderfully semi-psychedelic Smokestack Magic.
The tracks on the main disc are typically shorter than we got used to on Blues Funeral, and that's no bad thing either. Alain Johannes is less in evidence than often recently and though the album is credited to the Mark Lanegan Band, ML himself is clearly very much in charge.
Coming hot on the heels of Has God Seen My Shadow, Lanegan fans are getting a lot to feast on and there's no fall-off in quality. Marvellous stuff, and the bonus edition gives you the EP for next to nothing so fire up the credit card without any worries. At this rate, another album around February and if it follows on from this, more great stuff to look out for.
Review by huetzlipochtli