Mark Lanegan Band, “Phantom Radio”

11183_JKT

Mark Lanegan Band
Phantom Radio
VAGRANT

7/10

At this point in Mark Lanegan’s thirty-year career, he could be forgiven if he’s a bit worn. But there’s no need to pardon the man; he’s still releasing new music almost every year with the same intensity and rawness that marked his days in the pioneering alt-grunge band Screaming Trees. The nearly fifty-year-old singer’s solo career today sees the Mark Lanegan Band giving electronic music (and technology) a whirl with his thirteenth full-length, Phantom Radio. Gloomy guitars and Lanegan’s brooding vocals fit perfectly with passionate lyrics and themes, which seem to channel the darkest eras of late ’80s Madchester and post-punk scenes. This musical and emotional strength is best exemplified on the haunting “Floor of the Ocean” and Soul Coughing–esque “The Killing Season.” Even with his ambitious ideas—like recording his latest via an app on his phone—Lanegan is an excellent songwriter at heart, and on this record, his vulnerability is what stands out above any type of exploration of sound.

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