GRUNGEREPORT.NET REVIEW OF MARK LANEGAN’S BLUES FUNERAL
WRITTEN BY GRUNGEREPORT.NET OWNER BRETT BUCHANAN
Basically as long as I’ve been a Mark Lanegan/Screaming Trees fan I’ve been waiting for him to followup his masterpiece Bubblegum, and the time has finally come! No more side project distractions! Blues Funeral comes out on February 6th to kick off what is expected to be a golden year for Grunge, here is my review of the album.
“The Gravedigger’s Song” really is the perfect opener and makes more sense in the context of being an album opener rather than it does as a standalone single. It builds and builds, it ups the anticipation for the rest of the album.
“Bleeding Muddy Water” sounds a bit like Mark’s work with Soulsavers, very soulful with some religious lyrics. There is a lot of religious imagery on the album. My favorite lyric to this song is, “you’re the bullet, bullet and the gun, muddy water, you’re heaven’s son.”
“Gray Goes Black” sounds a lot like “Burning Jacob’s Ladder,” which didn’t make the album. The vibe here is a little lighter than Burning Jacob’s Ladder though, especially the rhythm. It reminded me a bit of the Screaming Trees too.
“Quiver Syndrome” is a very upbeat rocker and it is one of my favorites on the album. It has a very textured and layered sounding. The verses are reminiscent of Mark’s work with Queens of the Stone Age a bit, but there is a sweet poppy riff with some harmonies over it that make it a bit different.
“Riot In My House” reminds me of the Screaming Trees, Bubblegum, and Queens of the Stone Age. It has that same dark rhythm that Bubblegum had but the guitar riff is all Josh Homme (who plays on the song reportedly). The lyrics are also fantastic, “there’s a riot in my house, chaos is blossoming, run and hide little mouse, go on and get yourself together, the burn-outs buy the score, strung out in metal cages.” While other Grunge era artists may soften in their old age lyrically, Lanegan just gets darker.
“Harborview Hospital” is very synth heavy and has kind of a dreamy sound, it is a new type of sound for Lanegan. It’s a creepy dance song, if that makes any sense. “Ode To Sad Disco” also has a similar driving beat with melodic guitar playing mixed in. Mark’s melody is really soothing here. “St. Louis Elegy” is a pure blues song. “Leviathan” sounds like an evil Beatles song, really cool vocal layering with Lanegan and Chris Goss. “Tiny Grain of Truth” has a big time 90’s vibe, some of the guitar work actually reminds me of the Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness a bit, on some of the epic songs on that album (like Porcelina of the Vast Oceans).
Overall this is a great album, it is exactly what Mark Lanegan fans have been waiting for. It has Lanegan’s blues influences like always, but with a new sense of groove on many of the songs that have never been heard before on Lanegan’s previous work. Alain Johannes did a great job and continues to be a great help to Grunge musicians. When that dude is in the room, you know good shit is being made.
My favorite Mark Lanegan Band album is Bubblegum, and I’m not quite sure that Blues Funeral has passed it up yet. In time I think it could, but damn Bubblegum is good! Blues Funeral will grow on you with each listen.
Favorite Songs: Ode To Sad Disco, Riot In My House, Quiver Syndrome, Bleeding Muddy Water