Mark Lanegan

Has God Seen My Shadow? An Anthology 1989-2011

Light in the Attic

Jan 28, 2014 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

The voice of Mark Lanegan is one of the greatest in music, plain and simple. Lyrically, he reinforces the amazing strength of his vocal cords with hard-scrabble tales of temptation and revenge, told with Biblical heft. Has God Seen My Shadow? collects Lanegan's solo work, but makes it more apparent that when left simply to his own devices, there's a dynamic missing. His voice is so powerful, in fact, that it needs something to set it apart, or to duel with it.

Lanegan himself seems to understand this to a large extent, and he often collaborates with others. Some of his strongest work can be found setting his rusty vocals against the shining guitars and battering ram rhythm section of Screaming Trees, which he fronted from 1985 to 2000, or his work with The Gutter Twins, where he traded shots with one of his only competitors for the best voice in rock, Greg Dulli.

Here, however, for the most part alone, there's not enough shifting beneath Lanegan's rock-solid voice. There are plenty of excellent songs among these 32 tracks, like the Tom Waits-esque howl of "Leaving New River Blues," or the morphine slow-drip of "One Hundred Days," but something comes out flat when Lanegan's not challenged by a musician such as Isobel Campbell, with whom he's recorded three albums, someone who can compete with that astounding baritone. (


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