Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood - Black Pudding

When the duo do click, it’s masterful.

Label: Heavenly

Rating: 7

Mark Lanegan has been stalking the music industry with the hangman on his trail for what seems like a very sombre eternity since the heady days of the Screaming Trees. Perhaps now as well known for his collaborations as his own solo work, Lanegan’s teaming up with the equally nefarious Duke Garwood is only surprising in terms of the gulf in popularity between the two. ‘Black Pudding’ won’t alter this for either artist but then again, neither artist hardly expect it to: a dense, acoustic guitar driven lurch through Lanegan’s murky, wheezy blues is unlikely to send the duo into the stratosphere.

Nor does it besmirch. Garwood might be considered Lanegan’s ‘spiritual cousin across Atlantic waters’, but the London-based multi-instrumentalist masters a folky, textural depth through his fingerpicking, reminiscent of Alexander Tucker or vintage psych-folksters Comus, laying the foundation for Lanegan’s growl. And while Lanegan increasingly resembles his own portentous vocals, his lyrical content has never really altered from his solo debut, over twenty years ago. So we get the usual talk of death rides, mescalitoes and, erm, black pudding. But when the duo do click, it’s masterful. ‘Pentecostal’ is perhaps the best marriage of voice and rattling acoustics while the instrumentals bookending the album – the title track and ‘Manchester Special’ – are gorgeous in their sparseness, suggesting that Garwood ultimately outshines his companion in this bout with the deep shade.