Lanegan's at his gritty best, but there’s sweetness and vulnerability here too…

Mark Lanegan is at his gritty, gravelly best here.

A hearty breakfast, presumably of rusty nails and Marlborough Reds, is serving him well because he sounds as gravelly – and great – as ever. It’s the world-weary voice of a life well lived. From the opening tribal drums of ‘Disbelief Suspension’ that give way to a raw, bluesy riff, it’s clear he’s taking no prisoners.

‘Somebody’s Knocking’ sees the former Screaming Trees frontman continue his foray into electronica, subtly blending ice-cool synths with dirgey guitars and doom-laden imagery to reveal a love of ‘80s English alt-rock. ‘Penthouse High’ is his ode to New Order, while elsewhere he channels imperial-phase Cure.

The image of him as a make-up artist is intriguing, but it takes on a decidedly sinister tone on ‘Night Flight to Kabul’.

He’s always sounded dangerous, and as he snarls “You don’t want a war with me” on highlight ‘War Horse’, it’s hard to disagree.

But there’s sweetness and even vulnerability beneath the grit too, as demonstrated on ‘Playing Nero’ and ‘Two Bells Ringing at Once’. Welcome back.

8/10

Words: Felix Rowe

Dig it? Dig Deeper: Screaming Trees, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains

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