Album Review by Mark Bayross
Believe it or not, this is the Screaming Trees frontman’s fourth solo album and, as with the others, it is a stunning showcase of his ability to deliver perfectly executed acoustic-tinged songs.
Occupying that bluesy-country region often frequented by the likes of Greg Dulli’s Afghan Whigs, Lanegan shows us just how rich his voice is. Of course, devotees of the ‘Trees ‘ know that already – the band are capable of some moments of transcendental greatness. Nonetheless, this time around he hasn’t written another collection of his own songs, legendary in their melancholy — these are all covers.
On CREEPING COASTLINE OF LIGHTS his voice sounds like Joshua Tree-era Bono; the Brook Bentonpenned title track is Tom Waits meets delta blues; while on SHILOIH Lanegan sounds not unlike Leonard Cohen.
At times the instrumentation gets as lavish as Lanegan’s voice: CONSIDER ME has some smoky sax and the gospel blues of Overton Vertis Wright’s “On Jesus Program” has powerful vocals accompanied by stabs of electric guitar. By the Johnny Cash-style delivery of LITTLE SADIE, the fretwork becomes impressively frenetic.
As the wurlitzer of BOOGIE BOOGIE dies away just over 33 minutes after the album started you are left feeling enriched and touched. ‘The Blues’ seem to have infused Lanegan’s soul, although being a former junkie and good friend of Kurt Cobain probably have something to do with that. But when his booming voice launches into the opening CARRY HOME, a song written by the now sadly deceased Gun Club member and good friend Jeffrey Lee Peirce, it is impossible to not sit up and listen.