WHO IS HE? The Seattle singer-songwriter whose entire musical and personal vibe screams anti-social loner, but whose lengthy and prolific resume is festooned with collaborations and stints with Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age, Twilight Singers, Gutter Twins, Mad Season, Isobel Campbell and many others.
WHAT IS THIS? His 11th solo studio album — and his umpteenth collection of dark-hearted rock and grim balladry voiced in his raspy Iggy-esque baritone.
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? A lot more varied and intriguing than you might expect, actually. And a lot more British. Some of these 14 songs conjure the old-school Manchester vibe of Joy Division with their grinding, low-slung basslines. Other tunes lean more toward the creepy, gothy tones of Sisters of Mercy or Bauhuas. Still others recall The Cure or Berlin-era David Bowie. And a few just kick up their heels with synth-heavy rock. Lanegan has always marched to his own drummer, but this time, there seem to be more of them. Including a few mechanical ones.
WHAT SHOULD IT BE TITLED? Black To The Future.
HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? With far less trepidation than you might have approached some of his aggressively bleaker earlier works.
WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Moody, sinister, idiosyncratic, husky, dusky, electronic, atmospheric, contemplative, gravelly, haunted.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? The gothic, reverb-clouded electro-rock of Disbelief Suspension and Letter Never Sent; the Bowiesque Gazing From the Shore; the punchy Stitch It Up; the shuffling desert-rock of Paper Hat; the fuzzy jangle of Radio Silence.
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS SAY? ‘Just once, I’d love to hear him do an album full of covers like Sugar, Sugar and Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini.’
HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? “There’s no comin’ back,” Lanegan warns at one point. I beg to differ.
IF THIS ALBUM WERE WEATHER, WHAT WEATHER WOULD IT BE? A steady drizzle from overcast skies.
SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? No matter what mood he’s in, I would not recommend stealing from Mark Lanegan.