Sunday, August 27, 2006

Mark Lanegan: Part IV - Last Call In Purgatory

This is part four of my piece on Mark Lanegan's career.

Part I is here.
Part II is here.
Part III is here.

Sweet Oblivion achieved plenty of commercial success, enough to compel the Screaming Trees to tour extensively in the US and in Europe to support the album, and the success afforded them the opportunity to take their time when making their follow up album. In the interim, Lanegan released outstanding solo effort Whiskey For The Holy Ghost in 1994, again on SubPop. He told interviewers at the time that he enjoyed the opportunity a solo record provided for him to explore something different than what the Screaming Trees did musically. Mike Johnson joined Lanegan again for Whiskey…, even co-writing a number of songs. The album was heaped with critical praise, and I feel it is perhaps the single best piece of work in Lanegan’s outstanding career. I’ll let the words of reviewers take the mic for a bit:
“Brilliant, of course… very few singers have the nerve, humility and arrogance to lay themselves so bare (in Lanegan's case, so flayed), and fewer still have the skill to render that nakedness so plausible and involving. Whiskey is a dense but intensely moving piece of work.” – Melody Maker, 1994

“Screaming Trees singer Mark Lanegan temporarily ditches his arboreal pals on this intensely beautiful second solo effort. Lyrics dense with metaphors of death and drink come to life through Lanegan's smoky tenor, which howls and billows from the depths of subconsciousness. Shadowy background voices, wispy violins, and lumbering acoustic guitars add to the haunting allure. A delightful companion for last call in purgatory.” – Entertainment Weekly, 1994

“Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan easily blows away any and all of his Seattle counterparts…” – Spin, 1994

“This is the kind of album that gives you the chills on the first listen. And the second and third for that matter.” – Month Magazine, 1994
Drop what you’re doing now and go get yourself a copy of Whiskey For The Holy Ghost.

House A Home

Click here for PART V.

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