Throughout his illustrious career, from the iconic alternative rock of the Screaming Trees, through his work with Queens Of The Stone Age and his recent sublime guest vocals on the new Earth album, seeing the name Mark Lanegan on any release is almost a surefire sign of quality, and this latest release, “No Bells on Sunday”, from his eponymous band is no different.
Although cut from a very different cloth from the aforementioned bands, this five track EP carries on the melancholic vibes of his previous album (2012’s “Blues Funeral”) but again shows how well his voice fits any amount of musical style. The music on “No Bells On Sunday” is largely minimal, with electronic beats dragging the slow paced tracks along, and the slow delivery merely adds to the tension. The title track is the clearest example of this, although ‘Sad Lover’ is a much more energetic affair, with a repetitive NIN sounding but, mixed with more than a few elements of Beck. The journey into synth territory by Lanegan and his band pushes him to try different things and challenges the listeners expectations from track one.
I have always thought that while he has been involved in some big bands and guested on big albums, he has never quite had the break he deserves for such a great body of work. Whilst this may not be his best work, both ‘Sad Lover’ and the eight minute closer ‘Smokestack Magic’ are very good. A great introduction to his new “Phantom Radio” album and worth picking up either on this vinyl release or on the deluxe edition of the album, where these tracks will be added as a bonus. All in all, its Mark Lanegan, so you probably need to buy it.