It is business as usual for Mark Lanegan on his first solo effort in eight years, Blues Funeral, which sees the ex Screaming Trees frontman slip effortlessly into the same brooding mind-set left behind with 2004’s Bubblegum.
Since eschewing his grunge roots, Lanegan has brought his distinctive baritone burr to a string of collaborative efforts with high-profile artists like Belle & Sebastian’s Isobel Campbell and stoner stalwarts Queens Of The Stone Age.
But with Blues Funeral, Lanegan has chosen to go it alone once more and in opening salvo Gravedigger’s Song, a scabrous lament to lost love set to a filthy bass throb, it’s clear Lanegan has lost none of the vitriol which characterised his earlier work.
At 55 minutes, Blues Funeral risks turgidity but its length gives some of Lanegan’s finest material in years ample room to reach their logical conclusion from the riotous Quiver Syndrome to the menacing Bleeding Muddy Water.
Free of collective restraints and expectation, Blues Funeral is a moment of catharsis for Lanegan who, after an eight-year hiatus, has delivered a raucous blues opus many fans thought behind him.