In between the release of FIELD SONGS and its follow-up, BUBBLEGUM, former Screaming Trees singer Mark Lanegan sang for hard-rock heroes both old (a reunited MC5) and new (Queens of the Stone Age), gaining both fans and famous friends in the process. Thus, all eyes were on Lanegan for BUBBLEGUM, which features guest shots by everyone from PJ Harvey and Queens leader Josh Homme to Izzy Stradlin and Duff McKagan of Guns N' Roses. Fortunately, all this attention doesn't seem to have fazed the sandpaper-voiced singer; despite the guest list, BUBBLEGUM is as dirty, gritty, and raw as anything in his catalog.
While much of Lanegan's previous solo work is a mix of languid folk-rock, gutter blues, and the kind of grunge-mutated 1960s-psych influences that powered the Screaming Trees, BUBBLEGUM is lean, angular, and occasionally almost avant-garde. Simple, driving, Stooges-like riffs and rhythms abet minimalistic organ lines, heavily treated vocals, and a somewhat industrial tonal aesthetic. Notorious substance-abuser Lanegan's post-rehab lyrics are no less ominous or emotionally harrowing for their expanded perspective, and he remains a challenging singer/songwriter eager to explore new sonic avenues.
Reviews[I]t seems as if it were rising from a deeply dug well, especially Lanegan's glowering pirate-in-recovery voice....He hasn't sounded this focused in years. - Grade: A - Entertainment Weekly