Those familiar with Mark Lanegan's previous outings into brooding folk/blues music will have no surprises with "Field Songs". Combine his sublime whiskey-drenched delivery (which immediately recalls the gravely tones of Tom Waits), a refined understanding of traditional folk and blues and then throw in the rock sensibility of 90s band Screaming Trees and "Field Songs" is the result. Perhaps Lanegan's best album to date with improved and more diverse writing, it still tragically remains an overlooked gem in the realms of singer/songwriter music.
"Field Songs" boasts some of Lanegan's best song writing. "No Easy Action" is a sumptuous flourishing rock song - fashioning very unique vocal harmonies thanks to middle-Eastern styled female vocals sustaining held notes over the top of Lanegan's delivery. This flows effortlessly into an archetypal Lanegan slow-burner in "Miracle", a shift in mood and atmosphere that is both bold and highly successful. "Don't Forget Me" and "Fix" are two of Lanegan's best blues romps, combining strong writing and menacing, gritty vocal performances. "Kimiko's Dream House" is a surprising soft and subtle highlight, and shows Lanegan's diversity as a writer. My personal favourite of the album, and quite possibly my favourite Lanegan song to date, is the stunning "Resurrection Song". The song instantly draws parallels to "Riding The Nightingale" from the album "Whiskey For The Holy Ghost" due to its stripped down atmosphere, focusing solely on guitar and voice, and forging a wonderfully engaging and raw piece.
"Field Songs" showcases a more diverse album than past releases thanks to tracks such as "No Easy Action" and "Kimiko's Dream House". It also refines the trademark Lanegan song, and combines to make a truly wonderful singer/songwriter album I highly recommend.
on 26 February 2013
Just like Brick Loves Lamp, I am like a jolly sow having a roll in the mud when that voice courses and resonates right thru me. Haunting, inspiring and definately unique, an acquired taste maybe, but dig thru the thick barky crust and my ohhhh my, that pie filling of gigantic earthy ent-like singing is mesmerising. This album as a whole work is my favourite alongside 'Bubblegum'. The 'Blues Funeral' album would be my favourite if the drum machine was taken out and replaced by normal drums.
on 21 April 2004
FS is Lanegans 5th solo release after splitting with the now defunctSeattle band The Screaming Trees in the late 90s, & marks anunquestioanable maturity/ coming of age. The slightly folk & countrytones heard on Whiskey.. are all here except in much better form. Thisman delivers soul & blues for real, theres no 'performance' here- nopretending in any way. His songs & voice feel lived in, & the sincerity &honesty with which he lays himself bare, makes him a singer/swriter in thetruest sense; think BW Johnson (or any old delta blues singers), Tom Waits(literally- with his deep gravely baritone), & the likes of Van M & NickDrake for their passion & tenderness. I have 3 of his albums; 89's WindingSheet & 93's Whiskey for The Holy Ghost, & its strange that my favouritesare both WS & FS, as they are the most contrasting of the three, with WS'syounger mans voice & characteristically 'grunge' sound, playing with Kurt& Chris from Nirvana, in what I feel is an albeit lesser known but seminalpiece of work. Whiskey.. was a great step forward in evoloving - youimmediately sensed his heart was in the blues, folk & country music, butthe album (although it seems his most popular & did have a few 5*tracks), to me- lacked the consistency that Fsongs deliverd. FS is theperfect fullfilment of all that was beautifull about Whiskey with itshaunting atmospherics.
It opens with the spookily mysterious but utterly mezmerising One WayStreet; "..The stars & the moon arn't where theyre supposed to be.. forthe strange electric light it falls so close to me.. love I come to ridehigh on that seasick rolling wave, & you know that i am just trying to getout, oh the glorious sound.. oh the one way st. but you cant get, cant getit down without crying". He manages to sound unflinchingly masculine yetutterly vulnerable, expressing what could so easily turn to cheddar inanyone elses hands. His deep rasp is weatherd & weary, yet it explodeswith both romanticism & passion. Ohh the testosterone emanating from myspeakers!
There are so many highlights on this album; NEA, DFM, Rsong, Fsong & mypers. fave Low- a heart wrenchingly beautiful tune lamenting the death oflove & a painful past. Long time collaborator Mike Johnsons (ex DinasaurJnr's) tender acoustics, are accompanied by a gorgeous hammond organ, &lends a country music vibe which is well... a bit of a tear jerker quitefrankly, but strangely uplifting & healing by the same token. Mark seemsto have a gift for wrapping up beauty & sadness in the same packagelifting them to lush heights. He touches that very human fragile part ofyou (or me at least), & quite simply- it feels good.
High on feedback drenched atmospherics, FS has you lamenting romantically,leaving you somehow glad to be alive despite lifes 'challenges'. His wellknown themes/ battles with addiction etc on previous albums are here onFix; "..gonna drive that terraplane across the frozen ocean, weve alwaysbeen together & its good..", with its haunting slide guitar and twangycountryness is an eerie murky number . Incidentally it has Duff McKagenfrom GNRoses on bass & guitar, & also Ben Shepherd (ex Soundgarden).
Fsongs is another winner! "Lets walk down to the water, theres hyacinthin bloom.. spend my days lovin you..i left these fields because I neverknew.." It opens with a dreamy echoing electric guitar alongside acousticstrumming, in some sort of psychadellic country inflected haze.
Kimikos.. is a gentle pretty acoustic song co written with the Gun ClubsJeffrey Lee Pierce before he died, & I would imagine is very special toMark, but im afraid I find it a bit 'clutterd' in parts, but that said isstill lovely.
The melancholy Blues For D is the only instrumental here, & is without aconventional 'song structure' as it drifts along, again with both acoustic& electric picking, bass, sound effects & gentle piano accompaniment.
This is a beautiful collection of songs, containing just enough ambiguity& mystery to colour in the magical images of shimmering golden light,starry nights, & wild open spaces conjured up in your head, (although I ido kinda miss the violin appearances you get on whiskey ala-'Carnival', ima sukka for that weepy folky thing!). Also check out the covers albumIll Take Care Of You, Lanegans interpretations of old Southern Soul &country influences that he makes his own, & his upcoming album Bubblegum;which sees many collaborators inc. QOTSAge fman Jhommes, & a duet with'the' lady PJ Harvey.
All in all FSONGS is an excellent buy id heartily recommend as either anintro, or addition to any of Lanegans work .
on 28 June 2001
I first learnt about Mark Lanegan when he appeared onstage with Queens of the Stone Age when I saw them a few weeks ago. I immediately fell in love with him and his voice so when a friend of mine told me to check out this cd I had no reason not too. It wasn't exactly what I expected, and reminded me of my Dad's Leanord Cohen collection, but I immediately loved the creativity and the feel of the whole cd -especially that thick graverly voice of his. I can't see why anyone would not enjoy this CD, but Slipknot fans be warned - this is REAL music!
on 18 May 2002
Barn-storming. This was the first ( and so far the best ) Mark Lanegan album that I got hold of. I was one of an extremely small band of Screaming Trees fans, and now appear to be in the same category for Mr. Lanegan.
This is truly an album of highs and lows, in the sense of an emotional journey rather than quality (which is never questioned.)
The slight country tinge to a few of the tracks were exactly what I was looking for. Think 'my woman gone left me' more than 'achy breaky heart'.
This album will break your heart, then re-affirm you belief in humanity on a regular basis. 'Don't forget me' and Kimiko's dream house' get into places that move you, while the uplifting 'Low' and ' No Easy action' will bring tears to your eyes if you let them. And you should.
You owe it to this guy to give him a go. If you have ever heard his voice, you know the guys lived. Everything's conveyed in the voice. You've got no choice but to light a Marlboro, pour yourself a stiff drink, sit back and AGREE!!
on 10 October 2001
The irony of Mark Lanegan is that he's drenched in nicotine and whiskey, completely unwholesome, and yet produces music with more soul than anyone else I've heard (certainly more than so-called soul artists these days). Absolutely pure, completely honest and open. The best word for this really is 'haunting'. By the way, Lanegan's first solo album was 'The Winding Sheet', not 'Whiskey for the holy ghost', though it's true that 'Whiskey' is his best.
on 3 May 2003
Before I bought this, I had only heard of Mark Lanegan as I owned the "Singles" soundtrack, Screaming Trees' "Dust" and Mark's own "I'll Take Care Of You" covers album. After hearing "Field Songs", I decided to look back and bought his entire (solo) back catalogue and the Trees' "Sweet Oblivion". The man has such a great voice! The songs are wonderful too: from the whiskey-drenched "One Way Street", the Oriental-flavoured "No Easy Action", the spine-tingling "Miracle"... The heart gets a mention too, on "Don't Forget Me", most likely a nod to one of his exes. There's the lovely (in a haunting kinda way) "Kimiko's Dream House", co-written by Jeffrey Lee Pierce (of The Gun Club fame). "Resurrection Song" is as good as "Miracle", and "Low" is another reason why you shouldn't just buy the single (not that there is one, as Lanegan's more of an album artist anyway) like many do these days. The album closer, "Fix" is just furthermore proof that Lanegan's underrated as a songwriter. He'll probably never be up there with the greats, but that's a position he wouldn't like to be in anyway. Tell your friends who have good taste in music & make them listen! ;-)