The dark lord lightens up, relatively

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Mark Lanegan – Here Comes That Weird Chill

A lengthy subtitle, Methamphetamine Blues, Extracts & Oddities, goes some way to explain this generous, eccentric EP. As a prelude to his sixth album proper, due next year, Here Comes That Weird Chill finds the fearsome Lanegan in an unusually playful mood. Involvement with Queens Of The Stone Age?and, more specifically, Josh Homme’s ad hoc Desert Sessions?have clearly loosened Lanegan up. So the apocalyptic grunge-blues are leavened by clanking experiments, distorted jokes and a fairly faithful cover of Captain Beefheart’s “Clear Spot”. Aided by sundry Queens and their associates, Lanegan emerges as a more approachable character. Nevertheless, it’s telling that the outstanding tracks?”Message To Mine” (a rousing moan reminiscent of his time fronting The Screaming Trees) and “Lexington Slow Down” (penitent piano gospel)?are exactly what we expect from this brooding figure on the rock periphery.