Mr Lanegan's previous album of covers helped cement his tombstone outlaw persona of the late nineties, it was very much an American album in sound and feel with tracks like Little Sadie and Shiloh Town contributing to the overall feel of a life lived in shadows on the run from the chain gang. This record is a very different prospect, whilst still largely an acoustic affair and with the same producer as I'll Take Care of You, it nevertheless feels as though Mark has aged considerably since the staggering Blues Funeral(2012) and doesn't once with this record conjur the malice in his voice that made the 1999 set of covers so compelling. This is a good album, I'm a Lanegan completist and, as someone else here mentions, this is certainly not going to disappoint if you are too. "I'm not the loving kind" is perfectly delivered and bare opener "Flatlands", with it's rolling picked acoustic guitar and lush strings, sets the scene perfectly for something you expect might be wonderfully sorrowful. Sadly, the next few songs fall a little flat to my mind, not peaking again until "Pretty Colours" which sounds like a deathly dark Moody Blues. I often disliked how, in Mark's albums with Isobel Campbell, it would almost seem as if their reverence for the material they were tributing, coupled with their innate seriousness, would create the feeling of bathos as they fell slightly short of the mark. The same occurs here, "She's gone", "You only live twice", "Brompton Oratory" and "Elegie funebre" all fall a little short, but the heaviness of their delivery makes the song's slight failings seem much greater. Four stars from me then, as I cherish anything from this artist. Perhaps four stars for the casual music fan looking for a dinner party record too...but for anyone wanting Screaming Trees/QOTSA/Gutter Twins/Blues Funeral Lanegan, I'd recommend treading with caution to avoid disappointment.
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