Something wicked this way comes. It’s hard to believe that this is Mark Lanegan’s first solo album since 2004’s magnificent Bubblegum. The former Screaming Trees front man has been so prolific over the past few years on collaborations with Isobel Campbell, Greg Dulli (a match made in Hades that one), and QOTSA that it seems as though he’s been a constant fixture. It’s almost as if Lanegan has kept himself busy so he doesn’t have to be left alone with his own thoughts. Blues Funeral proves that he’s not one to rest on his laurels (or in this case, bed of thorns) on an album which is pretty much a foul rag and bone shop of the heart. When he’s not brooding on Bleeding Muddy Waters and the desert shimmer of Gray Goes Black, Lanegan lets loose with ferocious blasts of corrosive rock on Riot in My House on which Josh Homme’s guitars howl like an abandoned dog in the backyard. That sand-blasted baritone is as deep as a well in a ghost town on the phantom gospel of St Louis Elegy and on Deep Black Vanishing Train he really does make Nick Cave sound like Jedward. Lanegan’s liquor-sick blues may verge on self parody - evil stalks the earth, high-flying crows are portents of grave danger, the colours are bleached out by the sun – but this is monumental desert rock delivered with real force and menace. If you’re looking for a drop of the hard stuff, be warned – this is a distillery.

Alan Corr