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Mark Lanegan : Gargoyle

7.5

Mark Lanegan has always been prolific, and is someone who can comfortably shift anywhere between straight-up blues, hard rock and now ‘80s-gothic-rock-tronica. The one thing that binds all his projects is his inimitable voice, which in the right setting, can move mountains – and this record is no different. Gargoyle is the latest in a line of solo outings that is increasingly more Joy Divison than Leadbelly and while it might be reductive to hang so many reference points on Lanegan, he has never shied away from what inspires him.
 
It turns out that driving bass lines, drum machines and cold ‘80s textures are  fertile ground for Lanegan’s voice to hover over. Lyrically, it’s the same old concerns: references to drink, drugs and failing relationships. You’d be forgiven for thinking that he’d fallen off the wagon – but relax kids, I think they’re just metaphors. Importantly, the songs are as good as anything he’s done since Bubblegum, and they prove what a concise songwriter he can be, particularity within the parameters of these three and four minute ditties. Enjoy with your choice of sedative or somewhere below sea-level.
 
By Luke Fussell