Mark Lanegan Band – Blues Funeral (4AD/Rhythmethod) CD REVIEW

THERE’S MUCH TO like about Blues Funeral, Mark Lanegan’s first since 2004. For starters, its cover is graced by a painting of some glorious pink flowers on a black background, which preferable to the standard artist pic, and leaves the listener with an open mind.
Secondly, Lanegan’s voice, which sounds parched by the scorch of nicotine inhalation without losing any of its subtlety of inflection, and features a most pleasing vibrato.
Thirdly, his slightly oddball rock vs. electro music conception, which has just enough menace and voodoo to make it perfect for something risqué and ripe like the kind of thing that could feature in True Blood. This is music with a little bit of Nick Cave in it, but probably a little more Jim Morrison together with some danger on the edge of town.
There’s plenty of swagger, earthiness, intelligence and style all thrown together in a rootsy stew that then goes out of its way to annoy the purists with drum machines and atmospheric electronic textures. The perfect aesthetic mix for 4AD, really.
Sometimes, Lanegan’s music gets on a one-chord groove that has haunted rock since Bo Diddley, but other times there are walls of Mellotrons, just to evade any fitting into templates that reviewers are so prone to do.
What I like about Blues Funeral is that Lanegan has put real effort into the words, but that like all good song-poets, he makes those words meaningful by singing them right.
In fact, it makes me want to go right back and search out his old solo albums, and the bands he sang with, like Screaming Trees and Queens Of The Stone Age. But I’ve got a feeling it might make more sense to start right here. GARY STEEL
Music = 4/5
Sound = 3.5/5

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