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Mark Lanegan’s forthcoming album “Gargoyle” features contributions from familiar hands Greg Dulli, Josh Homme, Alain Johannes and Duke Garwood, and one new one, Robb Marshall. Marshall, who is English, first met Lanegan in 2008 when he opened for Soulsavers, whom Lanegan fronted at the time. In the following years, Lanegan contributed to Marshall’s project “Humanist” and a songwriting partnership was born.
This is perhaps why, despite the conventional fellowship, it is Marshall’s influence that is currently steering Lanegan’s artistic schooner. The single “Nocturne” is an atypical Lanegan rumbler. His gruff vocalizations are most habitual, but the track’s marrow seems inspired by the ’80s Euro goth of Sisters of Mercy, The Mission UK and yes, even the Cure. The simplistic canned drums lay a perfect foundation for the reverb-soaked bass and guitar to shimmer among the sequenced swirl of the keys, confirming Lanegan’s mastery of intersecting technology into the earthen texture of analog instrumentation. There is also the drunken romanticism of Serge Gainsbourg’s nicotine-stained ghost that prowls through the “come hither” lyrical theme.
It’s an interesting turn for an artist who has continued to be daring in his direction and collaborative choices. Lanegan could have made a decent living growling over blues dirges for the rest of his career. Over the last decade, the ex-Screaming Trees frontman has been a sought-after collaborator, having worked in tandem on releases with Queens of the the Stone Age, Isobel Campbell and Greg Dulli, while collaborating with artists as varied as Melissa Auf der Maur, Martina Topley-Bird, Creature with the Atom Brain, Moby, Bomb the Bass, Soulsavers, The Twilight Singers, Unkle and Mad Season.
“Gargoyle” is out April 28 via Heavenly Recordings, and Lanegan will be doing a yet-to-be-announced L.A. show in August.