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06/10/2014 : MARK LANEGAN BAND - Phantom Radio

MARK LANEGAN BAND

Phantom Radio

MusicCD
BluesDark WaveIndie Rock

[70/100]   

Heavenly Recordings
06/10/2014, Paul PLEDGER

Hats off to Mark Lanegan - if you don't count his contributions to recent works by Moby, Queens of the Stone Age and duets with Isobel Campbell, this is his third album in just over four years and is showing no sign of over-stretching his creativity or diluting the quality. In fact, upon learning that he composed most of Phantom Radio on a phone app (Funk Box, since you ask) and hearing the results, here is proof that technology is only as good as your ability to wire it up and lay it down.

 

Opening track Harvest Home sounds like a hit-single to these ears but as singles no longer exist in their rawest form anymore, you'll have to use your imagination. It's a belter, but hardly indicative of what follows. There's moody swamp-blues on Judgement Time, mid-tempo synth-pop with Floor Of The Ocean, more typical electro-goth rock on Seventh Day and the sweeping majesty of the Badalamenti-inspired melodrama of Torn Red Heart - Ian McCulloch would be the perfect vocal partner for Lanegan on this, I reckon. It's very Ocean Rain or Candleland.

 

The rest of Phantom Radio veers from earthy to esoteric without treading a great deal of new ground, although its creator sounds as distinctive and husky as ever. The closing track Death Trip To Tulsa is perhaps the nearest thing to Lanegan's Screaming Trees history without the grunge and without the riffs - still interesting though.

 

Fans of the man's grainy hybrid of blues, alt-rock and dark-wave will warm to this - onlookers may be tempted. You could do a lot worse.

 

This review also appeared on Flipside Reviews

Paul PLEDGER
06/10/2014


 

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