For just over 20 years Mark Lanegan has been an ambassador for `alternative' music in America: as the frontman for the undervalued Screaming Trees, Greg Dulli co-conspirator, Queens Of The Stone Age collaborator, and solo artist (not to mention many other guest appearances).
There's no doubt that that Lanegan's stint in the `Desert Rock' outfit Queens Of The Stone Age has brought a fresh interest to his work, and it would appear that the band has maybe given him the hunger to once again bring his own brand of alternative rock to the music buying public.
`Bubblegum' is Mark Lanegan's sixth solo album, and the first credited to the `Mark Lanegan Band' -- which Lanegan himself attributes to the absence of the ever-present Mike Johnson (who featured prominently on his earlier `low-key' solo releases) -- and is quite a departure from his previous solo work.
Although the subtlety of his last few records is not absent, it is fair to say that `Bubblegum' is a cohesive collection of the singer's musical persona. It is his most rock orientated set since Screaming Trees' Dust, while being as devastatingly honest as `Scraps At Midnight'. In fact, this is quite unlike any other rock album. A remarkable achievement.
It's unpredictable, desolate yet hopeful, beautiful and redemptive.
`Bubblegum' is, in every sense, a staggering record.