Mark Lanegan Band – Gargoyle – Album Review by Killian Laher
Mark Lanegan continues his recent, electronica-infused style on his tenth solo album. This time around he has collaborated with English musician Rob Marshall who wrote much of the music here. Opening tracks Death’s Head Tattoo and Nocturne set the tone, placing Lanegan’s moody rumble of a voice over clattering keyboards and pulsing rhythms. These tracks are atmospheric growers, not designed to grab you straight away. Blue Blue Sea is keyboard-dominated, while Beehive is almost slinky, with stabs of guitar blending with Lanegan’s wounded croon “beehive, honey just gets me stoned”.
For those who prefer a more stripped-down sound, Sister will provide that, albeit it’s dominated by spooky organ. Two of the finer tracks share this sparser sound. Goodbye to Beauty is a classic Lanegan ballad, with just a hint of Joy Division added in. First Day of Winter bears a heavy keyboard influence, a slow, glacial drift. On the other hand Emperor has the bounce and swagger of Queens of the Stone Age, this track featuring head Queen Josh Homme on backing vocals. Drunk on Destruction has a distracting drum ‘n’ bass rhythm and sound that borrows from Bowie circa Outside. It doesn’t quite work but it’s interesting with it. Closing track Old Swan is the album’s longest, a steady pulsing life-affirming track with a fine vocal.
The album feels like a logical progression of the sound Mark Lanegan began to explore on Blues Funeral and continued on Phantom Radio. It seems his embrace of technology and all things electronica has given this latest chapter in his musical career a prolonged lease of life.
1. Death’s Head Tattoo
3. Blue Blue Sea
7. Goodbye to Beauty
8. Drunk on Destruction
9. First Day of Winter
10. Old Swan