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Mark Lanegan Band: Blues Funeral

Music Reviews Mark Lanegan
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Mark Lanegan Band: <i>Blues Funeral</i>

Careful fans of modern indie rock probably think they know Mark Lanegan fairly well—better, even, than the Screaming Trees from whence he once came. Latter-day Lanegan, the guttural purveyor of dark night of the soul music, the voice of swamp wind on a muddy graveyard, the sin-stoked demon growl that howitzers through the weird holes Isobel Campbell, Greg Dulli or Josh Homme leave for him in their music together. Abruptly closing a six-year hiatus from his own “band,” Blues Funeral restates all these things, but possibly even a bit more.

As the title suggests, the album continues to make the mostly winnable case that Mark Lanegan might not only be 2012’s spookiest living bluesman, but possibly also the best. However, some revelations are more shocking. Laced with Born In the U.S.A.-style synths, “Harborview Hospital,” shows Lanegan shedding more rootsy trappings for a dance with a brand of Ethereal American Music whose echoes are far more rarely heard than those of its Cosmic cousins, while “Ode to Sad Disco” is exactly that. As a singer and songwriter, Lanegan’s range is so much wider and deeper than anything the vast majority of singer/songwriters can touch, and his fearlessness remains devastatingly affecting.