After enjoying Mark Lanegan's latest release Bubblegum I decided to go back to the beginning with his melancholy debut The Winding Sheet. I am very pleased I took the chance on this album as it is a thoroughly enjoyable listen, and one I can see myself consistently listening to in the future.
What Mark did for this solo debut was take his whiskey soaked, emotionally charged voice and lace it with simplistic and mellow acoustic guitars. And it works. His later albums would add more instrumentation and more complex structures, but to me, this is just as good, if not better. It is classic singer/songwriter, singing about longing, lust, happiness and resent.
The album is extremely consistent, something necessary for its stripped down style to keep the attention of the listener. The opener 'Mockingbird' is probably the most layered song on the album, with drums/acoustic and electric guitars/piano thrown into the mix. It's a great opener, and sets up the moody style of the album. The album just continues from there really, my personal highlights include the extremely calming 'Eyes of a Child' in which Lanegan really shines. The title track creates pure emotional toil through Lanegan's crooning, desperate voice. Really powerful stuff. 'Wild Flowers' is another favorite of mine, essentially a very simple track evolving around the most basic of chord progressions and, to be honest, a rather simple vocal melody. But it is just a great listen. And that is the general theme for this album, simple yet effective man and guitar. Enjoy!