Friday, December 24, 2010

EP Review: Mark Lanegan Band – Here Comes That Weird Chill

This was a huge departure for Mark Lanegan in 2003, up till now he had released 5 solo albums of consistently moody dark folk-inflected blues, using mainly traditional instruments, as well as his considerable body of work with the Screaming Trees.

Here he threw out the formula, and rather than working with usual collaborator Mike Johnson he got Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri of Queens of the Stone Age involved, as well as Greg Dulli. Methamphetamine Blues is an arresting opening to the EP, featuring clanking percussion, loops and a driving rhythm for a great big heavy number. After the moody short interlude that is On The Steps Of The Cathedral, we get a blacker-than-black cover version of Captain Beefheart’s Clear Spot.

Message to Mine opens with Homme singing before kicking into a driving rock song with a Screaming Trees style singalong chorus, while Lexington Slow Down is a more traditional Lanegan piano song, featuring a great lead vocal. Then things get really messed up for Skeletal History: “An artery is not a vein” growls Lanegan on this QOTSA influenced track which lurches unpredictably from one riff to another.

Final track Sleep With Me is probably the most anthemic on this EP, featuring a powerful vocal from Lanegan. This was a very important album for Mark Lanegan as it’s where he tore up the ‘formula’ of his previous solo albums and used the influence of his collaborations to come up with this EP. The results are quite unlike anything he had done before.