en: It's Not How Far You Fall, It's the Way You Land [info]
It's great to see ex-Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan obviously in great demand; in the last five years he's collaborated with, among others; Queens of The Stone Age, The Twilight Singers and Isobel Campbell from Belle & Sebastian (on last year's Mercury Music Prize nominated Ballad Of The Broken Seas). Here he collaborates with the Soulsavers who are Rick Machin and Ian Glover, on this follow up to Tough Guys Don't Dance (2003). It's an album best not enjoyed in a car, or even on an iPod in public – so sparse are the arrangements on It's Not How Far You Fall, It's The Way You Land that you'll be unable to appreciate just how much unnecessary embellishment has been left out.
It requires some quality downtime to be appreciated fully, in silence, through a decent pair of headphones, or the albums, smoky air of regret and redemption squandered could be regretfully overlooked. The opener is ''Revival'' stripped down, devotional, melancholy gospel, featuring longing voices, it sets the scene beautifully.
Lanegan's sensitivity, understatement, and sheer vocal versatility lend his performances huge presence and emotional intensity. He helps transform an album of assured instrumentals into a record just shy of greatness, the strong choice of cover tracks and their accomplished, thoughtful treatment helps round off a piece of work that is destined to be loved by those in the know. For example the closing track is a haunting cover of The Rolling Stones ''No Expectations'' from *Beggar's Banquet *(1968), it will ring in your ears long after it's finished.
The album also features a brilliant re-working of ''Kingdoms Of Rain'', from Lanegan's second solo album, *Whiskey For The Holy Ghost *(1996), and although these are compositions not designed to be ranked or skipped through, it's one of the strongest tracks on the album.
Lanegan is part Johnny Cash and part Tom Waits, in a real stinker, having been dumped and missing the last train. It's an album Primal Scream might wallow in the morning after a frightening bender. These are songs that don't care about getting their rocks off, they lack the ego, the drive, the ambition, to want fill a stadium. They're destined to occupy a space that's much harder to fill.