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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More greatness featuring Mark Lanegan...,
This review is from: It's Not How Far You Fall, It's The Way You Land (Audio CD)Soulsavers are a duo known for remixing acts like Doves who emanated from Stoke on Trent; 'it's not how far you fall, it's the way you land' is their second album and is notable as it features the great Mark Lanegan on eight of its eleven tracks. Lanegan is often cited as a tortured individual who has suffered addictions, it should be pointed out that he appeared to get over them around the time of 'Scraps at Midnight/I'll Take Care of You' and has been a workaholic since, producing his own solo work plus collaborations with The Walkabouts, Martina Topley-Bird, Isobel Campbell, Desert Sessions, Queens of the Stone Age, Mondo Generator, Twilight Singers, Masters of Reality etc - he also has another project with Twilight Singer' Greg Dulli, under the Gutter Twins moniker. So, what is effectively an unexpected solo album from Lanegan is very, very welcome.
This is not Lanegan being backed in the rock style of QOTSA or Screaming Trees, the closest work is the more electronic tracks on 'Bubblegum' or the Martina Topley-Bird collaboration (Lanegan likes the more explorative side of hip hop, like Clouddead, as well as having covered Massive Attack on the last Twilight Singers ep). Opener 'Revival' is gorgeous stuff, tapping into a 'Knockin' on Heaven's Door' vibe with some sublime organ and some soulful gospel vocals from Wendy Rose and Lena Palmer. I played this in the store and bought this album on the strength of it - it sounds to me like one of the greatest things Lanegan has co-written/sang. 'Ghosts of You and Me' displays the electronica side of Soulsavers, sounding like a sharper version of Depeche Mode's 'Ultra' musically, maybe with a hint of the electronic climes Australian act black cab are exploring at present. Rich Warren contributes some suitably manic guitar as Lanegan does his Waits-like narration, and some odd jazzy noises come in before the beats descend - very much in the climes of 'Altamont Diary.'
'Paper Money' has the feel of certain DJ Shadow and maybe the better side of David Holmes - Rose and Palmer's vocals coming back in to compliment Lanegan's lead vocals, bursting with joy and the kind of thing Primal Scream will kick themselves for not having thought of over their last few records! Lanegan takes a back-seat for 'Ask the Dust', an instrumental piece that takes its name from John Fante's great novel of the same name - the sleeve also quotes Charles Bukowski, so there is a certain vibe the Soulsavers are tapping into here.
'Spiritual' is a mellow, almost ambient piece that sounds like a coming-down type of song, very close in territory to certain Spiritualized records and with a Jesus-refrain that could be traced back to Screaming Tree's gospel themed 'Dust' (1996). 'Kingdom of Rain' is a reworking of a track from Lanegan's second solo album 'Whiskey for the Holy Ghost' , wasn't this written with former Dinosaur Jr member Mike Johnson? It's much better than the version from that album, having some great guitar from Warren, lap steel from Oscar Martinez, and a guest vocal from Doves' Jimi Goodwin. Always great to revisit old material, as Lanegan did on his recent tour with Isobel Campbell, which saw him perform tracks from his 1999 covers album 'I'll Take Care of You.'
'Through My Sails' is another cover version, the final track from Neil Young's 1975 classic 'Zuma' that was intended for an uncompleted Crosby Stills Nash & Young. Not sure if it's better than the original, as I love 'Zuma' so much (even the slightly lame 'Stupid Girl') - Lanegan is once again joined by Rose and Palmer, and another slightly surprising addition in the form of Bonnie Prince Billy himself, Will Oldham (another workaholic if you take in the recent records, tour, and the film appearance). Alt country/Oldham-heads will have to hear this! 'Arizona Bay' is another instrumental, a soundtrack suited piece with piano not far from 'Moonlight Sonata.'
This gives way to 'Jesus of Nothing', which is very trip hop and features percussion and bass from Sanj Sen, making me think this is an ideal companion to the recent guest filled release from future pilot aka. 'Jesus...' is very close to Tricky (who is mentioned in the credits), having an 'Ipcress File'-sounding element and waves of synths - a more subtle take on parts of Prml Scrm's 'Xtrmntr', blending electronics and psychedelia wonderfully. The album closes on an epic medley, a cover of The Stones' 'No Expectations' (from 'Beggar's Banquet') and Soulsavers' own 'End Title Theme.' Stunning stuff and a conclusion to the best album of this type since Barry Adamson's 1996 classic 'Oedipus Schmoedipus' - an album surprisingly addictive, and one that no Lanegan fan will want to be without. A nice surprise!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All that glitters is not gold ...,
This review is from: It's Not How Far You Fall, It's The Way You Land (Audio CD)At times, `It's Not How Far You Fall, It's The Way You Land' is an unsettling and almost uncomfortable listening experience (the rumbling screams and yells within the incredible Paper Money, which literally send shivers down the spine). The music is richly textured ... steeped in soul, gospel and the blues. It's often reflective and demands further attention, yet at times you feel like you're eavesdropping on pleas of forgiveness (opening epic `Revival' and `Spiritual', where Lanegans refrain of "Jesus, I don't want to die alone" sounds like the appeal of a dying man).
The slow burning intensity of opening track `Revival', is unrivalled by any track this year. When Lanegan poses the question: "Why am I so blind with my eyes wide open, I need someone now that this dark night's begun", you can't help but ponder over what he's been blind over and who he's pleading to (perhaps his girl, a dealer, or God?). Regardless, the result is outstanding.
The reworking of Lanegan's Kingdoms Of Rain (it featured originally on the wonderful 'Whiskey for the Holy Ghost') has to be heard to be believed. The music is sharp and accentuates Lanegan's words, phrasing and tone.
Elsewhere he sounds like a preacher who's traded his soul and realises that his saviour isn't forgiving to those who've turned their back on him (`Jesus Of Nothing' and `Ghosts of You And Me'). The versions of Neil Young's `Through My Sails' and the Stones' `No Expectations' are more desolate and abandoned than the originals.
Those who are familiar with the work of Mark Lanegan will know that this sort of subject matter is contained within his work for the best part of 2 decades. However, here the effects are astounding. In fact, it could be argued that it is Lanegan's presence that lends gravity to the project as without Lanegan this would be very little more than territory once tred by the likes of Death In Vegas (The Contino Sessions).
The beauty of this record is that it will draw the listener in further with each minute that passes, making it very rewarding. It weaves and twists, and although often troubling, this is a cathartic listen.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Diamonds' shining there...,
This review is from: It's Not How Far You Fall, It's The Way You Land (Audio CD)Well this is either all a strange coincidence or this is a bloody good album, so it's probably that last thing. I also (hangs head in shame) was not aware of Soulsavers and was pointed at this album by a friend who knew my fondness for Mr. Lanegan and if you have Dust, Scraps at Midnight & Bubblegum in your collection (and if you don't shame on you) then you need to get a copy of this as well. This is without doubt the best album I've heard in a long time, bringing together different genres of music effortlessly and so interestingly that it leaves you wanting more and finding more after each listen.
I can hear shades of NIN in some of the music but it is more complete, more rewarding than anything I ever heard from Mr. Trent. And I can hear shades and echoes of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, which for me is no bad thing. But this is a significantly better album.
I absolutely love the drive, the bounce, the cool reflectiveness, the soulful mourning, the twists and turns this album makes. It has a rich weave, darkly textured, sometimes sparse, but never wanting. Soul, blues, hip hop beats all demand your attention but never overwhelm, instead pick you up and take you places that are really rather nice places to be. It's the perfect companion at 03:00 in the morning when there is only you and a bottle of vodka, and equally perfect the next morning whilst you are padding around the kitchen looking for something to line your innards with.
Every track brings something to delight about; musically, lyrically, the way different genres snuggle up to each other and effortlessly support and inspire. Worthy of note in my opinion are the backing vocals, used on many tracks not only to support Lanegan's voice, but also to add emotive tones that are just done to perfection.
I very nearly agree with RT Clayton below that Revival could well be the song of the year so far, if it were not for Kingdom of Rain, it engraved itself on me the first time I heard it, and I will always remember the first time I heard it. It is magnificent. And I wholeheartedly agree with the Johnny Cash/Hurt comparison. It is moving, dark, delicate; the musicianship, the lyrics, the backing vocals, the everything about this track is just something to behold and take joy in the fact that it is out there for people to hear. It makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck, it manifests out of the speakers, makes you sit down and take notice. This is just one of the finest records I have ever heard and is for me, the highlight of an exceptional album.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 'Revival' is indeed complete.,
This review is from: It's Not How Far You Fall, It's The Way You Land (Audio CD)In spite of Jason again doing a better review job than I could hope to, I must add my tuppen'th. I do, however, have to start with an apology to the Soulsavers duo. I only came to know of them because someone who knows I like Mark Lanegan pointed me at this record. That person is due a large Christmas present this year, and Soulsavers first album has been ordered forthwith!
This is an awesome, beautiful, and very, VERY moving record. The whole thing could not be more appropriately titled. Lanegan's world-weary voice here sounds typically lugubrious, yet perversely happier than ever to still be alive.
If your preferred tracks on Bubblegum included Morning Glory Wine or Strange Religion; if you own any Spiritualized or Alabama 3 output; if you believe credible rock, new millennium gospel and electronic sensibilities can co-exist in one package; then buy this album.
Personal highlights? Revival is a serious candidate for Song Of The Year (so far) in up to 4 different genres. Spiritual does exactly what it says on the tin. Kingdom Of Rain has been written up elsewhere as "doing for Lanegan what 'Hurt' did for Johnny Cash". Agreed.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Darkness at noon, or any other time,
This review is from: It's Not How Far You Fall, It's The Way You Land (Audio CD)Occasionally the abject unfairness of life is made only too obvious. That an ex-junkie, jailbird, bailiff should have possibly the finest deep voiced gravelly croak since Tom Waits is surely a kick in the teeth for all the wholesome, skinny-jeaned wannabe rock gods out there. Not that ML would care, or even notice. The Soulsavers duo have hitched their star to Lanegan on this album and when it's good it's very very good. Revival sounds like it's been around forever, the new version of Kingdoms of Rain is equally spine-tingling but without even the hint of redemption you glimpse at the end of the album opener. In between nothing really stands out,there's some pleasant enough electronic noodling, which doesn't really prepare you for the album's finest moment which comes at its end. The cover of No Expectations adds an entirely new dimension to the Stones track. The background wash of mild electronica is overriden by a typically understated but beautiful vocal. Sit back and coast through the (very) late night blackness,
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Album,
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This review is from: It's Not How Far You Fall, It's The Way You Land (Audio CD)If I hadn't bought Broken at the same time I would have like this more, but it still is a fantastic album, with a fantastic overall sound and some great songwriting.
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!,
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This review is from: It's Not How Far You Fall, It's The Way You Land (Audio CD)It is only through an old girlfriend that I discovered that Mark Lanagan was singing with this band. As a fan of all his other work I do not know how his activity here passed me by. If you do not like "moody" music or have a perpetually upbeat attitude to life this may pass you by. When my brother heard it he felt is was music for the morgue. Point missed I think. This is a beautiful piece of work from begining to end, and I think very uplifting.
But I am biased because I just think he could sing the alphabet or Thomsons and add a different dimension to it.
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beware - buying this album could cost you a fortune,
This review is from: It's Not How Far You Fall, It's The Way You Land (Audio CD)I can add nothing to the excellent reviews already submitted. I described it to my wife as "the album the Alabama 3 have threatened".
I saw Soulsavers with Mark Lanegan at the Bush Hall, and the intensity of the sound was beyond belief.
If you buy this album, and are not familiar with Mark Lanegan's work (I came to him via Isobel Campbell) then you may well, like me, be embarking on a voyage of discovery. Which will be a good thing, and not involve anything resembling an indie (boy) band.
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