Mark Lanegan Band - Gargoyle
The omnipresent grunge rock legend returns with his tenth solo album which, as always with Lanegan’s work, is a massive collaborative effort but one that is deftly steered by the man himself. Gargoyle began to take form in early 2016 with Lanegan being contacted by former collaborator Rob Marshall (of Humanist and Exit Calm) to thank him for his recent collaboration and wanting to return the favour. Within three days they had kickstarted the process and dictated the direction. With Marshall co-writing six of the ten tracks, the whole recording process was done and dusted within a month and features appearances from a raft of Lanegan’s long term cohorts such as Josh Homme, Greg Dulli, and Duke Garwood.
Building on the Krautrock electronica of his last two releases but imbuing it with a more upbeat swagger of defiance, the aptly named Gargoyle is an expansive Germanic gothic electro grind, with industrial drums and distant squalling guitars; Lanegan’s scratchy worn leather voice takes centre stage. Highlights include the swirling and soaring 'Nocturne', the Baggy-esque swagger of 'Beehive', 'Emperor'’s Queens of The Stone Age groove, and the fragile late era Dylan sound of 'Goodbye to Beauty'.
On first listen Gargoyle tends to wash over you as it seems familiar, such is the recent trend of the fathers of rock and punk venturing further into the Krautrock arena as evident on last year’s Iggy Pop effort Post Pop Depression. However, on repeated listens Gargoyle draws you into its dark underbelly and doesn’t let up until the blissed out dirge of album closer 'Old Swan'. Lanegan is the gargoyle of the rock scene: a little worn, a little intimidating, but a stoic and permanent presence.