Mark Lanegan
Dark Mark Does Christmas


4.0
excellent

Review

by Raul Stanciu STAFF
November 22nd, 2012 | 33 replies | 6,703 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Christmas Funeral

Christmas records are usually a good chance for artists to drain some of their listeners' money on the season. The few, classic albums, however, remain mostly the same (such as Elvis' Christmas Album, Bing Crosby's Merry Christmas, Nat King Cole's Magic Of Christmas or even Phil Spector's offering) and along with a couple of more recent ones, are listened to this very day, a lot of people ignoring or dismissing a large portion of the holiday themed efforts out there.

Released with next to no publicity, Mark Lanegan's latest EP, Dark Mark Does Christmas, marks his first tenure into the Christmas carols realm. Of all the artists, he surely is one who can give a different feel to these songs. While his take won't become a Christmas classic any time soon, Lanegan successfully takes some of the well known tunes and twists them into a dark, melancholic affair. As imagined, spending the holidays with Mr. Lanegan will definitely end up really somber and nostalgic, no matter how hard he'd try to joyfully praise Jesus' birth.

Choosing a lo-fi production instead of a proper studio recording, Dark Mark Does Christmas evokes a more personal atmosphere through its unprocessed sound and a vintage feel, resembling a pick-up playing a really old vinyl. For the first half of the EP, Mark uses higher tuned instruments such as the banjo on the beautiful "The Cherry Tree Carol" or the ukulele, heard on "Down In The Yon Forest", thus adopting a higher tone too. It's great to see his wide vocal range still intact at his age, especially singing all those high notes on the lovely "O Holy Night".

A great aspect is his vocals, echoed this time, giving a dreamy tone on the first three tracks. On the opposite, his trademark gravelly voice bears a haunting beauty rarely matched by other artists. This way, the a cappella "Coventry Carol" and the acoustic guitar assisted "We Three Kings" turn into what's arguably the darkest take on these carols. Also, included on Dark Mark Does Christmas is the grim "Burn The Flames", originally recorded by Roky Erickson, further attesting Lanegan's gift by giving another dimension to an already sinister song.

So, for those who enjoy listening to Christmas records and even those who shun the whole idea of Christmas, Mark Lanegan's Dark Mark Does Christmas is a short, interesting at least release, that's worth purchasing just for the dark, twisted touch given on the tunes here. It would have been even better if Lanegan recorded an album's worth of carols to have an even bigger impact on the listener. Nevertheless, the EP offers something different from the usual for the season, regardless of its length. Unfortunately, Dark Mark Does Christmas is available so far only on his live tour merch stand, so go see him perform and get this. Hopefully, Lanegan will give this a proper release in the near future.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
November 22nd 2012



3369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Early Christmas! Dark Mark is really enjoyable even outside the holiday season. Constructive criticism appreciated. Fortunately, the EP can be listened to on Youtube in its entirety here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhgfLvqp-xI



MichaelSnoxall
November 22nd 2012



12163 Comments


site needs more Mark Lanegan love

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
November 22nd 2012



3369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^true that

MichaelSnoxall
November 22nd 2012



12163 Comments


also pos.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
November 22nd 2012



3369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks man I appreciate it.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 22nd 2012



19672 Comments


Yay the Xmas reviews are starting. Another good review insomniac pos'd.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
November 22nd 2012



3442 Comments


NO CHRISTMAS UNTIL AFTER THANKSGIVING

Really nice review, though, have a pos.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
November 22nd 2012



3369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks guys. This is a totally different Christmas record haha. My first thought when listening to Dark Mark Does Christmas were of attending a private funeral. Everything sounds so sad, but I really love his voice especially on The Cherry Tree Carol.

My bad Brostep, here in Romania we don't celebrate Thanksgiving. However, we have Black Friday and it's tomorrow. I'm ready to waste money on cheaper records.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 22nd 2012



19672 Comments


Why u saying my bad to me? I wasn't the one complaining I love Christmas I did my first Xmas review before Halloween lol.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
November 22nd 2012



3369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sorry man, haha. I don't know why I kept in mind you told me that.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
November 22nd 2012



7326 Comments


Had no idea this was coming out, I'll be giving it a listen though. Pretty good review, although when you say "Released with less to no publicity" I'm pretty sure you mean "next to no publicity."

YoYoMancuso
November 22nd 2012



11023 Comments


whoa awesome, huge screaming trees fan right here. i gotta pick this up. review was solid, pos

tarkus
November 22nd 2012



5560 Comments


pos

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
November 22nd 2012



3369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks. I'll correct that mistake Ali, thanks for pointing out.
I didn't know about this EP until about 3 days ago when I saw an article about it on Antiquiet I think (they were amazed too, much like Josh Homme's Rekords Rekords)

greg84
Staff Reviewer
November 22nd 2012



7361 Comments


I'm not a big fan of his, but this is a well-written review for sure.

Digging: 68 - In Humor and Sadness

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
November 22nd 2012



3369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Greg. I was pleasantly surprised to hear this. I know you prefer Van Conner over Lanegan haha, but this is cool. How come you haven't reviewed Valis' new record yet ?

greg84
Staff Reviewer
November 22nd 2012



7361 Comments


I guess I'm too lazy. I'll try to review the new Valis LP soon.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 22nd 2012



19672 Comments


you guys might like a very she and him christmas if you like she and him and haven't heard it

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
November 22nd 2012



3369 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm curious to hear how it sounds. I am waiting for my scholarship to come in next month so that I can get it. I can't wait to hear it!

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 22nd 2012



19672 Comments


listening to this right now sounds pretty good and i love the folk influences



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