Down the rabbit hole with Mark Lanegan
Mark Lanegan Band heads to the third dimension with his 11th studio album, Somebody’s Knocking. Influenced by old-school, psychedelic rock, European electronic and folk, this introspective album journeys from Kabul to Las Vegas to Wonderland. Marklanegan.com describes his newest release as being “made by someone obsessed with music, and all its primal, spiritual healing power truly penetrate the soul.” The mix of electronic and alternative retro-rock, combined with Lanegan’s gritty voice create a wondrous new album.
Lanegan begins the album with the brain-stimulating, “Disbelief Suspension.” Gruffly singing, “drip drip drippin acid out of the dropper, we’ll fly to the sun in a helicopter,” this song spans the entire musical spectrum. Singing from the depths of his vocal cords on the second song, “Letter Never Sent,” Lanegan’s spaceship prepares for the musical journey ahead.
“Night Flight to Kabul” features heavy drum and bass sounds on this extremely introspective song. The retro-rock sound of Somebody’s Knocking continues on the aptly titled fourth song. A punching beat, along with the underground sound reveals the “magic in his bag” that he pulls out for “Dark Disco Jag.” Lanegan’s husky voice shines through on “Gazing from the Shore,” a lonely track that is relatable for those who have ever felt like a lost soul. This song recalls the feeling of what it’s like watching life from the sidelines, or how the rocker puts it, “gazing from the shore.”
Tracks six, seven and eleven are the perfect combination of electronica, electric guitar and Lanegan’s emotional voice. They paint a perfectly psychedelic picture for listeners to embark on the experience of this album. His voice is smooth and smoky at the same time. The ’80s background vibes give the impression of being in an episode of Stranger Things, while “Playing Nero” is a chilling vibration on the ears. The spooky sounds and lyrics of “Playing Nero” and “Name and Number” lay bare Lanegan’s haunted soul. He sings of being “caught in a trap,” while expressing his love, dreams and “holy reign.” Singing “too much is never enough” is the perfect way to describe how the band “can’t stop dreaming,” as they incorporate influences and musical trends from all over the world.
Low and slow is the best way to describe “War Horse.” This acid rock track features the joyous lines, “I’ll be Alice, you be the Cheshire Cat” and “let it ride all night, I’m going down, so far down.” The song takes listeners down the band’s musical rabbit hole and showcases the albums’s diverse influences.
Lanegan closes the album with a trio of songs that are heavily influenced by ’80s alternative rock. Haunting vocals give the impression of being in a funky, underground European disco. With references of a fleur-de-lis by the riverside, “Two Bells Ringing at Once” ties the album together by alluding to all the happiness and sadness of life. According to marklanegan.com, he recalls his music-making journey as a “lifelong love of words and sounds fused together.” Somebody’s Knocking uses this perfect blend of dark and light imagery and hallucinatory influences to create this mind-bending album.