Mark Lanegan - 'Straight Songs Of Sorrow'

7/10

Despite making the most impact in his career as a member of Queens Of The Stone Age and subsequent other alt-rock outfits over the last two decades, it has been his solo work that has garnered most of his attention these last few years. Not to say that he wasn't a strong and accomplished solo act throughout his time amongst other musicians, but these previous couple of albums have seen him step away from the more conventional elements of his sound and begin to work in a more electronic base. So with only a nine month gap between his 2019 LP 'Somebody's Knocking' and this new collection, 'Straight Songs Of Sorrow' looks to continue throughout this new aesthetic.

Although there has been a distinct invitation to allow more electronic moments into his production, his latest material is still very much a part of that sombre and ethereal direction he has always looked to explore. From the start, 'Straight Songs Of Sorrow' is forever trying to tread the narrow bridge he has created between his formative style and something fresh and interesting that will keep his creative ambition moving forward. And so this record plays as a wonderfully captivating release, not just for its dynamic reinvention, but for managing to maintain a solid and well-rounded atmosphere of dark and brooding cuts, filled with emotion and genuine heart.

Mark Lanegan has been regularly named as this generation's Tom Waits or Leonard Cohen, and this new album certainly keeps that comparison alive. 'Straight Songs Of Sorrow' is a bold and diverse collection of sweeping yet engaging ideas that show that even after thirty years as an artist, he is still very much making some of his best work still.

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