Mark Lanegan and Duke Garwood take us on a trip to blues rock psychedelia…..
When someone describes you as their “all time favourite artist”, it’s high praise indeed.
That’s what former Screaming Trees singer and Queens Of The Stone Age cohort, Mark Lanegan, said of English blues rock master, Duke Garwood. And now they join together once again for the brand new album, With Animals.
Save Me is the first track on the album, and has a real feel of psychedelia as Lanegan huskily whispers, “Come on now, midnight children, play your own harmony”. A very calm, cool start to the album. Song number two is, Feast To Famine. Garwood really puts a chilled out vibe to this one, as Lanegan gently sings of, “been from feast to famine, and all points in between”. A short song it maybe, but it’s a great one.
My Shadow Life is the third track in, and this one has a Massive Attack approach to it. With deep, dark vocals and an accompanying soundtrack to go with it, this is the standout track so far. Upon Doing Something Wrong is track number 4, and this time it’s an acoustic number. With just Lanegan on vocals and Garwood on guitar, this is a true beauty of a song. A song that has a sense of feeling to it, which is excellently executed throughout.
L.A Blue is the fifth song in, and this definitely nods in the direction of The Doors. Mark Lanegan certainly turns to his inner Jim Morrison, as Duke Garwood channels his inner Robby Kreiger. Brilliant stuff. Half way song is, Scarlett. A return to the darker sound, but a subtle darker sound of which Lanegan takes full vocal advantage of, with equally subtle singing that matches the wonderful music Garwood produces.
Track seven is, Lonesome Infidel. A properly tripped out number, which is going to sound so good live, with Lanegan confessing in the song that, “I’m going outta my head……”, quite a few times. This is a song that makes you sit up and listen, as the album has done to me so far. Track eight is the title track, With Animals. And it hails the trip hop feel once again, as you take in the fact that Garwood recorded a lot of this album on an 8 track cassette. And it still sounds as brilliant as the conventional equipment used in these modern recording techniques.
Track nine is the hauntingly brilliant, Ghost Stories. Another standout track which will make your hairs stand on end, Lanegan and Garwood really do make this track one of THE songs of the album. Track ten is the groovy, Spaceman. Garwood gets his groove on with some psych guitar and Lanegan gives it the full Morrison again. This is how The Doors would’ve sounded today, no doubt about that.
One Way Glass is the penultimate song on the album, and is another simply written song, yet executed brilliantly. This combination of musicians blends so well, it’s just a shame that the song is only over 2 minutes long. The final song on With Animals is, Desert Song. Another acoustic and vocal gem of a song, it brings With Animals to a close in brilliant style.
I’m not going to mess around here, this was the most enjoyable 39 minutes of music I’ve heard in ages. 12 faultless songs, performed and produced by two men who really should get more recognition from the musical circles. Album of the year? You better believe it. An absolute masterpiece.
With Animals is out now on the Heavenly Records label