Monday, April 2, 2012

if tears were liquor

I didn't used to like Mark Lanegan's voice when he sang for the Screaming Trees, but like most good slow-burn things, it grew on me, and since that band broke up, I've followed his solo career and collaborations closely, loving some of his work for the way it tingles my spine and moves my soul when staying up late painting, huddling in grunge layers around the house on wintry snowbound days, and driving through deserted streets late at night.

It's mix CD music, tracks I play on the radio and throw on CDs for everyone, but music that I listen to alone almost exclusively. I saw him perform with the Soulsavers a few years back and had the time of my life alone in the Grog Shop with my eyes closed, enraptured to hear that timbre six feet away as powerful as ever.

So I heard the new record reflected his love of synthy general 80's-ness and was reluctant to pick up the album without listening to it first courtesy of the local bibliotheque. I don't fault that as selling out or going with the times because my musical taste goes down all sorts of weird rabbit holes too, but there are certain things that are more my thing, and I infinitely prefer guitars to keys and prefer my electronica to be organic, dark and melancholy rather than 80's-clubby. 

So the first cut has the whole Queens of the Stone Age-ish stomp, which is cool and more what the last outing with the band was like when he was dueting most swankly with PJ Harvey (which I would have preferred as a collaboration more than Isobel Campbell) and wailing about methamphetamines.

Track two is chill and bluesy, muddy water and rain, like a chillout companion to 'When the Levee Breaks,' hypnotic that it seems like it could go on longer than six-plus minutes.

 Gray Goes Black has the echoes of skittish post-punk reverberating through it, but I find myself skipping to St. Louis Elegy already, sounding like part of the lost sequel to Saturnalia with the atmospheric feel and the harmonies of Greg Dulli.
There's some synthastic numbers on here that just aren't my thing, but that The Kids might dig, and the rest hasn't quite sunk in yet. Some albums are growers, some wear thin in a few listens, we'll see where this one falls, though it's not quite Whiskey for the Holy Ghost or Saturnalia yet for me...


  1. I'll have to flash drive this from you to see if it's worth shelling out shekels for, though synths can always be skipped.

    More reviews please.

  2. I didn't even review the last half of the record because I'm the worst person ever! I'll bring it in tomorrow though for your listening pleasure or something.