Thursday, September 13, 2007

Soulsavers, Kingdoms of Rain

Years and years and years ago, Mark Lanegan had a little song called “Kingdoms of Rain” on his album Whiskey for the Holy Ghost. Shy little thing with a low tech feel--not quite country music, but some kind of old Americana. It was definitely one of the standout tracks on an utterly brilliant album. When Lanegan went to work with Soulsavers a few years ago for an album that was released earlier this year (and to be released soon here in the US), they did a remake of his old tune and breathed a creaky new life into the thing.

It’s a slow song that borders on somber; it’s still quiet but more full than the original. Mostly, though, it’s a mood and a voice that catches you--something like Johnny Cash’s version of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt”. A spiritual companion, if you will.  And here’s the video from the record label, V2.

Speaking of Lanegan, a song from his album, Bubblegum, was featured on Rescue Me a week or so ago. It’s good to see his name popping up as the artist, but I do wonder what people will think when they pick up the CD. The song features was “100 Days”, a slow, sweet love song of sorts--very pretty. But Bubblegum is a little more earthy than that--it starts out with the droning dirge of “When Your Number Isn’t Up”, a song about not quite dying with lines like “No one needs to tell you that there’s no use for you here anymore.” Not exactly uplifting and certainly not pretty.

In fact, before “100 Days” pops up, listeners roll through “Hit the City,” a restless rocker with guest vocals by PJ Harvey, and “Methamphetamine Blues” with its industrial clank and grind, distorted vocals, and Queens of the Stone Age guitar line. These are, for lack of a better word, grimy songs.

The pretty “100 Days” and utterly gorgeous “Strange Religion” are the exceptions on the album.

For any fans of Rescue Me looking to buy something from Lanegan that matches the beauty of “100 Days”, though, I might suggest that Field Songs would be the best place to start. “Field Song”, “Resurrection Song”, and “Low” are all amongst his best stuff, and highly recommended.

Just sayin’.


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