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Mark Lanegan Band: Blues Funeral

Album Review

He’s come to reanimate the blues, not to bury it.

Of all Mark Lanegan’s many and varied collaborations since his last solo album Bubblegum in 2004 – with Isobel Campbell on Ballad Of Broken Seas, Greg Dulli in The Gutter Twins and The Twilight Singers, and as a cameo player in Queens Of The Stone Age – it’s his work with electro pioneers UNKLE and Soulsavers in 2009 that most inform this seventh solo outing.

As a man drawn instinctively to the hanging tree and swampy burial ground, Lanegan drenches Blues Funeral in imagery straight from the voodoo bayou – the piranha teeth, the blood in muddy water, the hot lives and sticky liquor – but The Gravedigger’s Song, Quiver Syndrome, Riot In My House and the backward-looping Tiny Grain Of Truth are Deep South elegies driven by sinister synthetics and brooding electronic beats worthy of Primal Scream, while Ode To Sad Disco is virtually a sadistic Scissor Sisters. 

Which all makes for a riveting revitalisation of swamp rock – less a wake for the blues, more a modernist resuscitation.

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