Beggar's Banquet - 2001 - 42 minutes

"The stars and the moon are where they're supposed to be," and below them sits backwoods balladeer Mark Lanegan. Over ten years and four albums, the former Screaming Trees mainman has found and decorated his own dark corner of the American music hall, summoning up the powers of blues, folk and rock for his snapshots of life on the way down.

'Field Songs' is his most complete and colourful collection to date, ranging from the death march dynamics of 'No Easy Action' to the melodic highs of 'Kimiko's Dream House' and the cinematic sweep of the title track.

Still banishing the demons which made his 1998 album 'Scraps At Midnight' such a harrowing experience, Lanegan moves between the torch song wistfulness of 'Pill Hill Serenade' and the chilling last goodbye of 'Low', all the time sounding like a man who has lived to tell the tale.

Long overlooked in favour of lesser talents, what Lanegan achieves here suggests that the future is just as bright as those lights he finds himself under.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: One Way Street - No Easy Action - Miracle - Pill Hill Serenade - Don't Forget Me - Kimiko's Dream House - Resurrection Song - Field Song - Low - Blues For D - She Done Too Much - Fix