On the day of it’s release, we are delighted that Mark Lanegan Band’s album ‘Phantom Radio’ has been made BBC6 Music’s record of the day.
Celebrate by tuning into 6music today as they will be playing tracks such as ‘Sad Love’, Floor Of The Ocean’ and ‘Harvest Home.’ The record has also been given a whopping ★★★★★ from The Independent and a pleasing ★★★★ from Mojo, Q and The Guardian.
If that wasn’t enough, ‘Phantom Radio’ was The Sunday Times magazine album of the week, securing the record as a career highlight.
As he approaches his 50th birthday Mark Lanegan has assembled one of the most extraordinary bodies of work in modern music. Phantom Radio will be the ninth bearing his own name and third with his band, but combine it with the collaborative albums he’s made, be it with Isobel Campbell, or Duke Garwood, or as 50 per cent of the Gutter Twins, or his legendary first band the Screaming Trees, then the total is nearer 20. Then there’s his guest spots with Queens Of The Stone Age and his many collaborations as the singer on records by the varied likes of UNKLE, Martina-Topley Bird, Moby, Soulsavers and Melissa Auf der Maur. In total, Mark Lanegan has made close to 50 records.
Lanegan’s solo debut was ‘The Winding Sheet’ in 1990 but it would be the masterful follow-up, ‘Whiskey For The Holy Ghost’ that confirmed his credentials as a truly unique artist. ‘Bubblegum’ in 2004 saw Lanegan emerge from the wreckage of the Screaming Trees to create a new version of the blues: part-acoustic, part-electro-rooted contexts mostly produced by Alain Johannes, with a floating cast of helpers, some illustrious (Josh Homme; PJ Harvey) others not. Seven years of collaboration followed before Mark Lanegan Band delivered the towering ‘Blues Funeral’, its Krautrock curlicues adding new textures to his molasses-thick doom canvas.
And now ‘Phantom Radio’ builds on the same foundations: produced by Alain Johannes, and that voice intoning deep truths hewn from the bleakest realm. “I saw the feet of pilgrims bleeding,” Mark sings on Judgement Time. “I saw whole cities drowning, I saw whole armies dying.” You believe every word; no other living singer’s voice feels so charged with Biblical portent.
Which is all part of the craft, because Mark Lanegan is not as black as he’s been painted. His chief compositional tool on ‘Phantom Radio’ was his phone – specifically an app called Funk Box. “I didn’t bother to hook up my 909 and 808 this time,” he says, “because the app had ’em. I’d write drum parts with it then add music with the synthesizer or the guitar.”
Unlike most gothic pop, Lanegan’s art is not a matter of fashion or mascara: it’s a genuine cri du coeur, as rare and beautiful as anything in music. THE INDEPENDENT — ★★★★★
“It’s fantastic, these unfamiliar surroundings – be it the Moroderesque shimmer of Floor Of The Ocean or the imperial synths of Waltzing In Blue – lending Lanegan’s songs a fresh new bite. A brave inspired step into the unknown.“
MOJO – ★★★★
“That ancient-sounding voice, seemingly hewn from rock’s substrata, has always worked as a drone in its own right, and here it’s matched by keyboards that shimmer behind, as if Lee Hazlewood were performing early-80s New Order.“
Q – ★★★★
“If you’re new to Lanegan, ‘Floor of the Ocean’ is the entry point here, while long-time fans will lap up ‘Tom Red Heart’ — the prettiest thing he has created since his Isobel Campbell collaborations.”
THE SUNDAY TIMES Album of The Week
“Best of all is the swollen melody on ‘Waltzing Blue’ the highlight of a sullen and graceful record that brings out the very best in the gruff veteran.” NME 8/10
“A beautiful set that balances Lanegan’s ongoing love of blues and folk with further explorations of the electronic terrain he explored on 2012’s Blues Funeral“
UNCUT – 8/10
“A career highlight… The Superb ‘Floor Of The Ocean’ could be the Sisters Of Mercy covering Joy Division, while ‘Torn Red Heart’ might be the most beautiful love song Lanegan has ever recorded“
THE GUARDIAN – ★★★★