Mark Lanegan
Imitations


3.0
good

Review

by Joseph Viney STAFF
September 20th, 2013 | 19 replies | 4,508 views


Release Date: 09/17/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Making a Mark on the classics

Covers albums can at times be little more than a vanity project or contractual obligation. On other occasions it can be a heartfelt attempt to either ‘give back’ to an artist’s followers or to simply try and clue them in as to what makes any artist tick. Typically, Lanegan’s eighth solo LP, Imitations, falls somewhere in the middle.

Perhaps we can allow Lanegan a bit of breathing room; a little space to flex his musical muscles and vocal chords. After all, even the most cursory of glances at the man’s CV is proof that Lanegan is no slouch. He refuses to rest even after 2012’s fantastic Blues Funeral. Now here’s the rub: it’s difficult to compare that record with Imitations and not possess a certain sense of disappointment. Where Blues Funeral was stocked with solid and at times heavy sounds, Imitations, with its abundance of string arrangements and meandering pace, leaves Lanegan looking a little off the mark.

It's not hard to imagine Lanegan here as the down-on-his-luck cabaret singer (one may argue that's the gimmick he's been trading on all along), crooning to an empty bar, those who are in attendance disinterested and vacant. Therein lies the problem with this record; for all of the talent Lanegan gives the nod to (Nick Cave, Kurt Weill, the Sinatras among others) it always struggles to achieve a real peak.

Nick Cave's "Brompton Oratory" is stripped of any of the grandiose story-telling and intonation usually proffered by Cave, replaced by the usual Lanegan smokehouse drawl. Lanegan's voice is noted by many as one of the most memorable, but here it merely contrives to draw the life out of the song. His version of Andy Williams' "Solitaire" suffers a similar fate and is immediately forgettable.

The brightest light on Imitations is his recital of "You Only Live Twice", where Lanegan's attributes as a vocalist and performer bring new life to the song. Replacing the standard pomp and grandiosity you would expect from your average Bond theme is that classic world-weary bitterness, his delivery allowing you time to trace your mind over the lyrics which show a deeper, more sentimental side in this fashion. "Mack The Knife" receives similar treatment, aided and abetted by vocals that call to mind an almost sociopathic leer. The album heads toward the finish on the back of two excellent tracks. John Cale's "I'm Not The Loving Kind" benefits from a richness of sound while "Élégie Funébre" benefits immensely from the unwritten rule of "it's French, therefore romantic".

Does Imitations teach us anything? Not exactly, but it gives us a window into the already oft-bared soul of Mark Lanegan. Whether it's a genuine artistic statement or simply a play for time, or a combination of the two, Lanegan still keeps people talking and guessing. Ironically, it's Lanegan who manages to come out of this as inimitable as ever.



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user ratings (23)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Spare
September 20th 2013



5252 Comments


you can't make a pun out of the name mark dude

Digging: Radiator Hospital - Torch Song

JViney
Staff Reviewer
September 20th 2013



322 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Couldn't think of anything else really. Hate just doing a summary that says "Here are some songs and they are ok I guess", that's the review. Gotta be snappy. Anyway, won't let me change it work because their filters deem the edit function "pornography".

Irving
Staff Reviewer
September 20th 2013



7143 Comments


Three Marks out of five, eh JViney? =)

JViney
Staff Reviewer
September 20th 2013



322 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Wahey!

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
September 20th 2013



10006 Comments


What a chap!

Digging: Deniro Farrar - Rebirth

SmersH
September 20th 2013



404 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That Cave cover was rather disappointing. Too bad.

Rest is not bad! Great write-up.

Digging: Low - The Curtain Hits the Cast

treeqt.
September 20th 2013



9025 Comments


Couldn't think of anything else really. Hate just doing a summary that says "Here are some songs and they are ok I guess"


should've just used that ^_^

klap
Staff Reviewer
September 20th 2013



10258 Comments


glad someone reviewed this. Viney on a tear

Digging: The Bilinda Butchers - Heaven

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
September 20th 2013



5921 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Good review for a good album. I hope the album stream is still active.

http://thequietus.com/articles/13327-mark-lanegan-imitations-album-stream

Digging: Essence Beyond - Carnivalism

bloc
September 20th 2013



34679 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I'm likin' this a lot

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
September 20th 2013



7314 Comments


Slightly apprehensive about this. Love Lanegan but most of the things I've read about this have been pretty lukewarm.

Great work as ever.

sniper
September 20th 2013



18972 Comments


summary is such a groaner

Digging: Towers - Bel Air Highrise Plantation

dsroka005
September 20th 2013



1526 Comments


this is not his best work by any means... maybe even subpar for him but whatevs still enjoyable

JViney
Staff Reviewer
September 21st 2013



322 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Voivod - Sorted now, cheers.

KerfuffleinaHussle
September 21st 2013



737 Comments


pun > album

bloc
September 21st 2013



34679 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Flatlands is top gun

AgainAnd
September 22nd 2013



152 Comments


I like this review. Y'know, the pun in the summary could be more subtle if you didn't capitalize Mark.

Digging: Casualties of Cool - Casualties of Cool

Scomadi
September 29th 2013



61 Comments


I should probably check this out. I'm a huge screaming trees fan-boy.

Activista anti-MTV
October 1st 2013



3138 Comments


Way to bring the Lanegan goods...



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