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.