CD Times (www.cdtimes.co.uk),
Mark Lanegan Band - Here Comes That Weird Chill EP
Shivers up the spine time here, friends, as the owner
of one of the most distinctive voices in rock blesses us once more with
an all-too-short collection of songs. But "Here Comes That Weird Chill:
Methamphetamine Blues, Extras and Oddities" is much more than mere Mark
Lanegan ego trip, it's a collection of collaborations with some of the
most interesting musicians in rock today. Josh Homme, Nick Oliveri and
Chris Goss, of the legendary, but criminally underrated, blues-psychedelic-rockers
Masters Of Reality, all stamp their mark on these songs.
Opener Methamphetamine Blues
(3:16) is an almost industrial style taster of things to come. A crunching,
mechanical style beat juxtaposed with lush harmonies and that menacing
growl that doesn't "...want to leave this heaven so soon". Itís catchy
and has a great sense of pace; it builds to an impressive climax, punctuated
only by those harmonies.
On The Steps Of The Cathedral (1:43) is one
of the oddities of the title. A short, jagged little burst of Goss's feedback
heavy guitar with Lanagan's growl sitting heavily on top. It's spaced
out and catchy in an odd sort of way. You'll find it in your internal
jukebox the day after you listen to it and wonder what the hell it is
you've been listening to.
Clear Spot(3:39) is where things start to
gather pace. A meandering electric soup guitar riff leads an odd arrangement
that has a psychedelic sort of feel to it. If you like guitar noodling,
youíll love this one.
Message To Mine(3:16) is the probably the
most immediate stand out track. A swirling organ tone gives way to a thumping
guitar riff that Lanegan stamps his presence over. Lanegan is one of the
characters that rock music tends to throw up from time to time, he used
to be a debt collector and on this track, it shows. You can almost taste
the testosterone in his voice as he swaggers through the lyrics - Walked
down these steps to the river, with my outfitÖ.all set to deliver. It's
a wonderfully evocative song - It's menacing and yet soothing at the same
time. The swirling mood of psychadelia bubbles just underneath; breaking
out into warm harmonies that give the song itís immediate catchiness.
Lexington Slow Down (3:00) approaches ballad
territory and is a downbeat, piano based ode thats dark and a perfect
showcase for Lanegan's voice - soulful and mysterious.
Skeletal History (4:10) is an odd arrangement
that has a style of its own compared to the rest of the EP; a guitar heavy,
but subtle stop-start affair. A grower.
Wish You Well (3:06) is another oddity, and
a slow builder. Warm, muddy and moody guitars build to an indie-style
arrangement that takes a while to get under the skin. Another grower.
Sleep With Me(4:14) is another one that approaches
ballad country, slow and with many growls and one that shows off the range
of Laneganís voice.
Version (3:37) is a free-form version of
the above track. Itís a meandering, strange affair, but works in context
of the EP as a form of epilogue. An appetizer, of you will, for one of
next years must have albums. A fine showcase and it works splendidly as
a collection of songs.
Mark Lanegan has one of the most distinctive voices
in music at the moment. To give some idea to the uninitiated, on the Twilight
Singers album, Blackberry Belle, he appears voicing the inner monologue
of the devil himself. This EP is swaggering, testosterone driven and attitude
heavy; itís the musical equivalent of the Death March scene from The Wild
Bunch if you can picture such a thingÖEssential.