Mark Lanegan Band – Blues Funeral

January 01, 1970

(4AD)

 

www.4ad.com

 

Blues Funeral is the Mark Lanegan Band’s first album
since 2004’s Bubblegum, and it picks
up more or less where its predecessor left off, setting Lanegan’s brooding,
imagistic lyrics against ethereal keyboard and guitar textures and mostly
mid-tempo beats.

 

Lanegan’s never
exactly been Mr. Sunshine, but Blues
Funeral
is grim even by his standards; the line “hangman is following me”
from “Leviathan” pretty much sums up the tone throughout. When the album does
break form – as on the Screaming Trees-ish rocker “Riot in My House” and the
clubby “Ode to Sad Disco” – it only serves to break the tension before
returning to the darker, more deliberate sounds that define the set as a whole.

 

That said,
Lanegan applies more varied sonic flourishes than he has in the past, making Blues Funeral a more interesting listen
than some of his previous post-Trees recordings, which have bordered on the
monotonous. What sounds like a mellotron provides counterpoint to sawing cellos
in “Leviathan,” which ends with a three lines sung by three voices in a round,
building an almost hopeful conclusion to the otherwise desolate tune. And “Ode
to Sad Disco” is built on “Sad Disco,” a dance track by Danish artist Keli
Hlodversson; Lanegan and multi-instrumentalist Alain Johannes build on the
original’s pulsing keyboards with guitars that alternately shimmer, soar, and
dive. It’s unlike anything Lanegan’s ever done, and it points in a direction
that he’d almost certainly be wise to follow on future projects.

 

DOWNLOAD: “Gray Goes Black,” “Ode to Sad Disco” ERIC SCHUMACHER-RASMUSSEN

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