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Mark Lanegan Band - Gargoyle album review

Electro-blues for the twilight hours

Cover art for Mark Lanegan Band - Gargoyle album

Blessed with a tar-thick and nicotine-stained baritone growl that oozes experience and a life fully lived, there’s a convincing argument to be made that Mark Lanegan could make even a kebab shop menu sound compelling. But what’s really fascinating about him is his continual search for new avenues to explore in what is essentially a gothic blues idiom.

So it is that Gargoyle picks up on the electro-noir of its predecessors Blues Funeral and Phantom Radio. Working again with long-time foil Alain Johannes and songwriter Rob Marshall – as well as collaborators Josh Homme, Greg Dulli and Duke Garwood – Lanegan sings the dark like so few others.

Be it the bizarre, Krautrocktinged shanty Blue Blue Sea, the glacially monolithic First Day Of Winter or the motorik joy of Old Swan, Lanegan is on daring and seductive form throughout. The Passenger-lite Emperor misfires but that’s forgivable with a strike rate this high.

Julian Marszalek is the former Reviews Editor of The Blues Magazine. He has written about music for Music365, Yahoo! Music, The Quietus, The Guardian, NME and Shindig! among many others. As the Deputy Online News Editor at Xfm he revealed exclusively that Nick Cave’s second novel was on the way. During his two-decade career, he’s interviewed the likes of Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Ozzy Osbourne, and has been ranted at by John Lydon. He’s also in the select group of music journalists to have actually got on with Lou Reed. Marszalek taught music journalism at Middlesex University and co-ran the genre-fluid Stow Festival in Walthamstow for six years.