Moving on from ‘Black Pudding’, Mark Lanegan’s collaboration with Duke Garwood, we now have the vocalist presenting his latest solo effort ‘Imitations’. The aptly titled album comprises twelve covers of what we could assume are some of Lanegan’s favourite songs, spanning a good many years and a good many artists. ‘Imitations’ has given Lanegan the chance to really express himself as a vocalist, whose gravely vocals sound soulful on the album. Its’ an incredibly expressive and emotive album that contains a great many number of strengths. The album is perhaps limited by the songs itself, whose instrumentals mean that the songs can only be expressed as themselves, leaving Lanegan to have to really work the vocals to present the songs in his own way.
‘Imitations’ is a rather enjoyable album, with the covers ranging from very notable artists such as Frank Sinatra and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. The real strength on the album is Lanegan himself, who soulfully croons each song effortlessly. Lanegan makes everything sound incredibly easy to replicate, when the reality is that it is most likely incredibly hard. Lanegan seems to demonstrate a range and side to his voice which hasn’t really been seen before, all expressed through the choice of cover songs. Another strength that isn’t so easily noticeable is the actual choice of tracks on the album. Lanegan has chosen a wide range of tracks that seem to span a number of genres and styles, but all of which is presented in a style that just flows from one song to another. It makes the whole album
However, it seems that ‘Imitations’ is limited though in the same way that every cover album is limited. Unless one is drastically reworking the tracks to their own style (to name an example, ‘Like Rats’ by Mark Kozelek’, then the tracks themselves are limited by their own structure, which artists like Lanegan need to work around. A few tracks on ‘Imitations’ seem to just sound like a simple rerecording of the original song, with Lanegan’s vocals replacing the original. It seems that someone as accomplished as Lanegan should be working much more of his own style into the songs, rather than simply replicating them. This seems to only be the case with a few songs on the album, and it does seem to lessen the impact of the album itself.
Overall, Lanegan has presented what is an interesting and enjoyable album experience. It is an album that certainly manages to work for Lanegan, presenting his talents in a brilliant light. Considering the amount of releases Lanegan has pushed out in recent years, it does seem that ‘Imitations’ is an album where Lanegan can just present himself entirely, without it feeling like a money grabbing scheme. The covers themselves all have a lovely amount to offer, without them seeming like an attempt on Lanegans part to out-do the original artists. ‘Imitations’ is simply just a nice addition to one fairly underrated vocalist, who is incredibly capable when it comes to releasing good music. Cover albums are somewhat hit and miss, but Lanegan manages to hit the mark in fine style
- ★★★★☆ 4/5
- Deepest Shade
- Pretty Colors
- Mack The Knife
- Autumn Leaves
Mark Lanegan’s latest album ‘Imitations’ is set for release on 17th September 2013.