The unexpected from a man who rarely delivers that
Former Screaming Trees singer Lanegan isn't shy putting himself about. Alongside recent impressive solo albums (Blues Funeral and his covers album Imitations) he's appeared with Soulsavers, Queens of the Stone Age, guitarist Duke Garwood and Isobel Campbell, as well as guesting for Moby, Unkle, Martina Topley-Bird ... He has that go-to dark baritone freighted with gravitas that others want.
This collection - with a bonus EP No Bells on Sunday for earlybird fans - steps sideways into moody, broody but musically interesting electronica soundscapes with producer Alain Johannes and others. It's territory he hinted at on Blues Funeral, but here his dark ruminations relocate into soundbeds more familiar to 80s followers of OMD, Depeche Mode, Ultravox and even Tubeway Army at their most melancholy.
But these elements are leavened by the musical subtlety, Eno-like stateliness (Waltzing in Blue) and Lanegan's restrained delivery. Despite the "la-la-la" on the loping Seventh Day and the gorgeous self-pitying ballad Torn Red Heart, he hasn't gone electro-pop (far from it on Floor of the Ocean or the goth-country I Am the Wolf written with Garwood) but finds the place where a moody electro-ambient artist and a thoughtfully poetic gravedigger are on (un)common ground.