MARK LANEGAN BAND Gargoyle gets 7.5/10

Mark Lanegan Band
Gargoyle
Heavenly

7.5/10

Mark Lanegan teams up with his band for his latest LP, Gargoyle, in which he goes deeper into the electronic direction seen on his last two outings Phantom Radio and Blues Funeral.

Synthesisers, organs and drum machines create musical soundscapes which would seem right at home in some dystopian future, sci-fi film. This is most evident in the opening three tracks, Death’s Head Tattoo, Nocturne and Blue Blue Sea.

Death’s Head Tattoo opens with what sounds like a familiar refrain of “wild thing”, but quickly gets dark and dirty. Nocturne continues the dark theme, morphing from an evil sounding bar band in the intro, to what sounds like a sinister drive through dark L.A. streets.

The album starts to lose some cohesion after fifth track Sister, with the upbeat Emperor sounding like the musical cousin to The Dandy Warhol’s Get Off, trading the soundscapes for a more celebratory rock sound. After this burst of joy, Gargoyle briefly falls sombre with the melancholy, and ironically beautiful Goodbye To Beauty.

The listener is jolted out of this slow lamentation with Drunk On Destruction, opening with a rapid “Amen” break. The album continues in this fashion, slow then fast, uplifting then forlorn, leaving the album feeling slightly disjointed.

Gargoyle is a solid outing from the guttural crooner. There’s often a sense of darkness, hinting at something deeper. Much of the album seems like it would be right at home on True Detective. It’s not breaking any new ground, but it’s a welcome addition to the Lanegan discography.

NEIL SOLACE

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