Ever since his Screaming Trees days, singer Mark Lanegan has been synonymous with a dark, dusty, dangerous corner of the American musical landscape. So it’s a bit of a surprise to find him, on this ninth solo album, ensconced under the grey skies of 1980s England.
From the deep, chiming gothic guitar of opener Harvest Home to the chilly synths and Hooky bass line of Floor Of The Ocean, he channels Joy Division, Echo And The Bunnymen and The Cure alongside Depeche Mode at their most downcast. But, master craftsman that he is, he totally manages to Laneganise this starting point, using it sparingly and stirring in a folky Americana and some sumptuous Old Testament imagery on the bluesy Judgement Time.
And then, of course, there’s that voice. Always threateningly beautiful, if anything it’s getting better with age – grittier by the year, and more soulful, while retaining the melancholic warmth that made his previous projects so special. There’s no faking this kind of quality.