The single best thing about a certain internet shopping giant fucking up my recent pre-order for this the eleventh solo by Mark Lanegan and the fifth of those to come with the added “Band” moniker was that when I was chasing up my order I inadvertently got to read the tongue in cheek review on said website by one Ellie Woozle, a long-time fan of Lanegan’s who described ‘Somebody’s Knocking’ as sounding like an album of Erasure covers performed by Lee Marvin.
This really tickled me simply because whilst it might be an oversimplification of the 14 tracks contained here (after a few listens) it really isn’t that far off the mark when it comes to the super funky electro-pop of ‘Penthouse High’.
Elsewhere though the sound is much more in keeping with the Band evolution which Lanegan has been working on with musician-producer Alain Johannes ever since 2004’s excellent ‘Bubblegum’ album.
There’s the goth rock overtones of 2017’s ‘Gargoyle’ album returning right from the off with the frantic (well by Lanegan’s standard anyway) ‘Disbelief Suspension’ a track that sounds not unlike Lanegan has taken over the role of Lux Interior for one night (or song) only. Meanwhile the tracks that follow like ‘Letter Never Sent’, ‘Night Flight To Kabul’, ‘Dark Disco Jag’ and ‘Gazing From The Shore’ all could have easily fallen off peak period albums by Joy Division, The Cure, Killing Joke and The Cult, however most importantly here the choruses of these songs tower over anything Lanegan has done since that aforementioned ‘Bubblegum’ opus.
Fans of the more melancholic side of Lanegan will revel in the almost New Order goes dubstep feel of ‘Play Nero’ whilst ‘Paper Hat’ is the first time a guitar features as the main instrument on ‘Somebody’s Knocking’ and is the type of dark lullaby Mark has been wowing audiences with since he left Queens Of The Stone Age.
‘Name And Number’ and ‘Radio Silence’ get the Krautrock influence quota back on track whilst ‘War Horse’ is an understated rap delivered as only Lanegan could and in ‘Stitch It Up’ and ‘She Loved You’ the big man is surely just a club remix away from filling dancefloors worldwide.
I can’t say I’m a fan of album closer ‘Two Bells Ringing At Once’ as this track once again strays a little too close to the dour sound of latter-day U2, but that aside ‘Somebody’s Knocking’ is a huge celebration of positivity and is certainly the crooner’s most upbeat record to date.
They say good things come to those who wait, well the 2 weeks it took a certain internet shopping giant to get me a copy of ‘Somebody’s Knocking’ made it sound all the more sweeter when I did get to hear it, and whilst it doesn’t really sound like Erasure covers sung by Lee Marvin for anyone left feeling disappointed with Iggy Pop’s recent ‘Free’ album this is the near-perfect antidote to that record.
buy ‘Somebody’s Knocking’ Here
Author: Johnny Hayward