Mark Lanegan Band - Here Comes That Weird Chill EP
Shivers up the spine time here, friends, as the owner of one of the most distinctive voices in rock blesses us once more with an all-too-short collection of songs. But "Here Comes That Weird Chill: Methamphetamine Blues, Extras and Oddities" is much more than mere Mark Lanegan ego trip, it's a collection of collaborations with some of the most interesting musicians in rock today. Josh Homme, Nick Oliveri and Chris Goss, of the legendary, but criminally underrated, blues-psychedelic-rockers Masters Of Reality, all stamp their mark on these songs.
Opener Methamphetamine Blues (3:16) is an almost industrial style taster of things to come. A crunching, mechanical style beat juxtaposed with lush harmonies and that menacing growl that doesn't "...want to leave this heaven so soon". It’s catchy and has a great sense of pace; it builds to an impressive climax, punctuated only by those harmonies.
On The Steps Of The Cathedral (1:43) is one of the oddities of the title. A short, jagged little burst of Goss's feedback heavy guitar with Lanagan's growl sitting heavily on top. It's spaced out and catchy in an odd sort of way. You'll find it in your internal jukebox the day after you listen to it and wonder what the hell it is you've been listening to.
Clear Spot(3:39) is where things start to gather pace. A meandering electric soup guitar riff leads an odd arrangement that has a psychedelic sort of feel to it. If you like guitar noodling, you’ll love this one.
Message To Mine(3:16) is the probably the most immediate stand out track. A swirling organ tone gives way to a thumping guitar riff that Lanegan stamps his presence over. Lanegan is one of the characters that rock music tends to throw up from time to time, he used to be a debt collector and on this track, it shows. You can almost taste the testosterone in his voice as he swaggers through the lyrics - Walked down these steps to the river, with my outfit….all set to deliver. It's a wonderfully evocative song - It's menacing and yet soothing at the same time. The swirling mood of psychadelia bubbles just underneath; breaking out into warm harmonies that give the song it’s immediate catchiness.
Lexington Slow Down (3:00) approaches ballad territory and is a downbeat, piano based ode thats dark and a perfect showcase for Lanegan's voice - soulful and mysterious.
Skeletal History (4:10) is an odd arrangement that has a style of its own compared to the rest of the EP; a guitar heavy, but subtle stop-start affair. A grower.
Wish You Well (3:06) is another oddity, and a slow builder. Warm, muddy and moody guitars build to an indie-style arrangement that takes a while to get under the skin. Another grower.
Sleep With Me(4:14) is another one that approaches ballad country, slow and with many growls and one that shows off the range of Lanegan’s voice.
Version (3:37) is a free-form version of the above track. It’s a meandering, strange affair, but works in context of the EP as a form of epilogue.
An appetizer, of you will, for one of next years must have albums. A fine showcase and it works splendidly as a collection of songs. Mark Lanegan has one of the most distinctive voices in music at the moment. To give some idea to the uninitiated, on the Twilight Singers album, Blackberry Belle, he appears voicing the inner monologue of the devil himself. This EP is swaggering, testosterone driven and attitude heavy; it’s the musical equivalent of the Death March scene from The Wild Bunch if you can picture such a thing…Essential.