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Published on September 11th, 2018 | by voxx


Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood – With Animals

The transatlantic pair offer up another dose of brooding midnight blues…

After five years of intermittently working with each other (starting with 2013’s excellently titled Black Pudding project), former Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan and English multi-instrumentalist Duke Garwood have transformed from definitive odd couple into a partnership that really makes sense. Guitarist Garwood has an airy, mystical sense of the blues, which meshes perfectly with Lanegan’s grave-deep, earthbound Americana. There’s definitely a sense here of some deeper connection at work.

This time out, over a deliberately sparse soundscape of rudimentary drum patterns and spidery guitar trails, they conjure a languidly nocturnal atmosphere that’s as claustrophobic as it is intoxicating. This isolated, off-the-map feel might be a result of the album being partly recorded by Joshua Tree in LA, but it’s also indicative of the two protagonists’ singular outlooks. You get the feeling neither of them mind being alone.

The lonesome music here is matched by a similarly desolate lyrical sentiment. Highlights include the unnerving creep of the title track (“Girl, you are a murderer”) and the sparse, pulsing melancholy of ‘Lonesome Infidel’ (“Oh lord/Going out of my head”).  The record ends with the glinting ‘Desert Song’ – a rare moment of crystalline beauty in the gloom, which finds Lanegan repeatedly pleading, “Don’t take me away from this dream/Even though it’s not what it seems”.

A true meeting of minds then, and one that’s deeply affecting throughout. They should do it again soon.

- By Jake White

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