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Customer Review

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Triumphant return, February 7, 2012
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This review is from: Blues Funeral (Audio CD)
Blues Funeral is the first Mark Lanegan solo album since 2004's critically acclaimed Bubblegum. Despite a lengthy break Lanegan's prolific work rate has been in full force, with guest spots and collaborations with the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, Isobel Campbell, the Gutter Twins, Soulsavers and Bomb the Bass. Blues Funeral is an equally familiar and surprising evolution in Lanegan's remarkable, if still underappreciated solo career. Lanegan is in fine form and his vocals seem to get better with age; a rich, world-weary growl with stunning control and depth. His fruitful artistic endeavours are reflected throughout Blues Funeral, unearthing some of his most adventurous song-writing amidst an impressive cast of contributors. Guests include Jack Irons, Chris Goss, Greg Dulli and multi-instrumentalist and production wizard Alain Johannes who rubber stamps Lanegan's superb arrangements with warm, textured production.

The biggest surprise is the increased integration of electronic textures and synth-pop influence. This works particularly well on the mesmerising 'Ode to Sad Disco' and the darkly upbeat `Harborview Hospital'. Elsewhere Lanegan delves into more familiar territory on the brooding, bluesy balladry of `Phantasmagoria Blues' and the sublime `St Louis Elegy'. `Riot in my House' is a delightfully raucous rocker with an inspired guest appearance by guitarist Joshua Homme. `Quiver Syndrome' follows a similarly rockier path, while `Gray goes Black' is shady pop-rock brilliance. The varied instrumentation and rich dynamics are complimented by an inspired collection of genuinely memorable, engaging songs.

The gloomy atmosphere of Blues Funeral; and its accompanying lyrical bent of dark imagery, despair and regret is offset by a lilting sense of hope and redemption, maintaining a darker edge without sounding depressing or one-dimensional. Lanegan has created one of his most accomplished efforts; an album that transcends genres and trends, carving its own unique path of musical growth, artistic integrity and gritty resolve. Blues Funeral is destined to become a modern classic.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 7, 2012 7:03:19 AM PST
Keene says:
After reading Pitchfork's review of this album....LOL..and then reading yours I will order this now...good review.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 7, 2012 10:09:00 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 7, 2012 10:09:41 PM PST
Luke says:
Just read the Pitchfork review, im surprised how scathing it is! It's the first really negative review ive read. Obviously i disagree with the score but also the criticism of the production (which i think is perfect) and the lack of "songs". Anywho everyone is entitled to their opinion. I admit to being a big Lanegan fan but i review albums on their own merits & Blues Funeral ticks all the right boxes (and ive had multiple in-depth listens). Personally i find Pitchfork to be a pretentious, hipster website and often disagree with their reviews. Thanks for reading.

Posted on Feb 7, 2012 10:24:05 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 7, 2012 10:26:00 PM PST
Yeah Luke, that Pitchfork review is both literary indulgence and inexplicable prejudice, like the team there at Piitchfork thought it might be fun to knock down a tall poppy with a review by the very person who has expressed histrionic antipathy towards Lanegan. Quote reviewer "... Blues Funeral sounds adrift both sonically and lyrically, chippy drum machines and oozing synths backing Lanegan's verbal merry-go-round of rising suns, avenging gods, and pitiless oceans" What the **#$ does that mean ? That the album is genre shifting or something, that the lyrics don't match the mood setting ? Frankly, who cares. The review is really wanky. I am getting sick of music reviewers trying to outdo each other with cryptic and/or obtuse dialogue. Bring back the likes of Nick Kent I say. The reviewers at Under the Radar and Mojo are pretty good on the whole.

Good Review by the way.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 8, 2012 12:14:10 AM PST
Luke says:
Thanks! And well said; i agree on all points. There are some great music reviewers around but it is becoming harder and harder to find decent ones that write thoughtful, detailed and subjective reviews without all the cryptic, self-indulgent wordplay.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2012 6:04:07 AM PST
Autonomeus says:
Pitchfork vainly thinks it can establish trends, and if they decide an artist or album is not trendy, then destroy them. So I say, don't be a Pitchfork lemming! Let your own ears decide -- this new Lanegan album sounds great, and a lot better than a lot of the "trendy" pop peddled by Pitchfork.
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