One feels compelled to mention that Mark Lanegan first came into the view of music fans with Ellensburg, Washington's Screaming Trees. But since that group disbanded Lanegan has distinguished himself with ten solo album (including our current subject, the just released Gargoyle) as well as numerous collaborations with other artists, including PJ Harvey, Moby, Isobel Campbell, and Soulsavers. Always an affecting vocalist, time and experience has added nuance to his well-weathered baritone, and the fuller range of emotions conveyed now match his songwriting skills to welcome effect. Lanegan continues to favor collaborations, and here he works with Rob Marshall and Alain Johannes in composition, and also features guest work by Josh Homme, Greg Dulli, and Duke Garwood in recording. The arrangements show growth as well, embracing synths, motornik rhythms and other electronic touches. The anthemic mid-tempo scorchers for which he is know are in evidence, but he also slows things down very well on occasion, such as the lovely "Goodbye to Beauty".
Lanegan is one of those remarkable musicians who can continue to learn, grow, and sound fresh decades into his career. May the number 10 is a charm, because Gargoyle may be the man's finest solo album, and we recommend that you check it out. It is out now via Heavenly Recordings.