With no signs of slowing down with age, Mark Lanegan, along with his band, continue to mould their numerous influences into finely crafted albums.
There were signs on 2017’s Gargoyle that Lanegan was perhaps not being as serious as he’s always previously been and on Somebody’s Knocking, he’s continued in this vein, in fact, even more so.
There’s a lot going on in Somebody’s Knocking starting with the fuzzy, distorted stomp of ‘Disbelief Suspension’that kicks off proceedings in fine fashion, blending punk, rock ‘n’ roll and slightly muffled vocals, a sound reminiscent of old taped recordings from the first days of grunge back in the late eighties.
’Letter Never Sent’is another high energy, slightly muffled track that has a sound similar to tracks on 2017’s Gargoyle. It’s not long though before we’re hitting the disco-style beats with swirling guitar that were used to such fine effect on Blues Funeral on ‘Night Time To Kabul’ and the more sinister sounding ‘Dark Disco Jag’.
The beautiful thing about this record is that each track offers something refreshingly new while unashamedly showing off its (mainly British) influences. The New Order and Joy Division tribute, ‘Radio Silence’ is practically ‘Transmission’ and ‘Atmosphere’ rolled into one, new song. Lanegan’s love for New Order and Joy Division is no secret though – after all, he has performed with both Peter Hook and New Order and frequently covers ‘Atmosphere’ in his live sets.
The opening keyboard chords of ‘Penthouse High’ sound like they could be lifted from a nineties dance track. Then then the bass line kicks in which, for all intents and purposes, could have been played by New Order’s Peter Hook. If this was played in nightclubs, people would be up dancing. The synthetic disco beat of ‘She Loved You’ wouldn’t be far behind this either.
‘Stitch It Up’ is a real foot stomping riot, deliberately bold and brazen. It’s not quite a new direction for Lanegan, but it is a change of mood in the sense that again, it’s not taking itself too seriously.
The fact that Lanegan has started starring in (some quite amusing) music videos for tracks from this album shows he’s perhaps become a little more open and inviting. Somebody’s knocking and perhaps, this time, he wants to come in.