Mark Lanegan‘s latest album, a collection of covers, is possibly smoothest-sounding collection yet. This is not necessarily a good thing. His characteristic rough edges have been smoothed away. It’s not all bad, he sounds curiously like Marc Bolan on a soaring version of Chelsea Wofe’s Flatlands. The lesser known material works best, a dramatic version of The Twilight Singers’ Deepest Shade proving the point. Elsewhere, Hall & Oates’ She’s Gone is a bit cheesy, while Nick Cave’s Brompton Oratory is smothered in brass and doesn’t quite work.
His 1999 covers album I’ll Take Care Of You worked in large part as the material was relatively obscure, which made it sound just like a ‘proper’ Mark Lanegan album (a good thing). The problem here is that many of these songs suffer from over-familiarity. Does the world really need new versions of Bond-theme You Only Live Twice, Mack The Knife and THREE Andy Williams tunes. Lanegan even tries his hand at singing en Francaise on Elégie Funebre.
The problem is that all this material doesn’t even come close to the quality of the rest of his catalogue, standing in stark contrast to Blues Funeral or his recent Duke Garwood collaboration Black Pudding. Is it a midlife crisis? Let’s hope it’s a temporary aberration.
1. Flatlands – Chelsea Wolfe
2. She’s Gone – Vern Gosdin
3. Deepest Shade – The Twilight Singers
4. You Only Live Twice – Nancy Sinatra
5. Pretty Colors – Frank Sinatra
6. Brompton Oratory Nick Cave Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
7. Solitare – Andy Williams
8. Mack the Knife – Bobby Darin
9. I’m Not the Loving Kind – John Cale
10. Lonely Street – Andy Williams
11. Élégie funèbre – Gérard Manset
12. Autumn Leaves – Andy Williams