Album Review: Mark Lanegan, Gargoyle

Impressive outing for alt-rock veteran

With a voice still sounding as grizzled as it did 30 years ago when he fronted The Screaming Trees, Mark Lanegan’s 10th solo album marks a return to a familiar grungy sound. It’s also a tour-de-force that finds the singer articulating powerful tales of redemption, made all the more meaningful courtesy of his trademark baritone.

Collaborating with Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme, Greg Dulli of Afghan Whigs and producer extraordinaire Alain Johannes, Gargoyle feels like the sum of all the songs that Lanegan wanted to write in the past, but never got the time to. Explaining the process behind returning to the studio, he said: “Part of the way that I stay interested in making music is by collaborating with other people. When I see things through somebody else’s perspective it’s more exciting than if I’m left to my own devices.”

From the bass heavy murmurings on the earlier tracks, to the Cohen-esque vocals on ‘Nocturne’, right up to the triumphant epiphanies on final songs ‘First Day of Winter’ and ‘Old Swan’, this is a beautifully executed record from a man who still has surprises up his flannel sleeve.

Lanegan’s veteran status might go some way to explaining Gargoyle’s title – it’s his own way of poking fun at himself, saying: “I may be part of the furniture now, but I serve a purpose!”

Whatever way you look at it, we’re happy to have you Mark.

 

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