Mark Lanegan, Blues Funeral. This is a nice blend of slick late ‘90s radio rock and an undeniable blues sentimentality. Lanegan has an artist-for-hire reputation, but here he seems genuine. There are guest stars and old bandmates galore, but it’s not as showy an ensemble as on Lanegan’s last solo album, Bubblegum.
This is a guy whose scattershot career is hard to follow with consistent idolatry—some of his associations seem lightweight, and it’s hard to gauge the level of participation on some of the projects he’s the ostensible frontman for. This, however, is a set of thumps, wails, and sobbing basslines you really can get behind. It’s well-composed, well-paced, well-intentioned. Best of all, considering the stadium-grunge pedigree of some of its contributors, it’s understated. Northwestern modern malcontents need their own blues: here they are. “If tears were liquor, I’d’ve drunk myself sick.”