Whiskey for the Holy Ghost

Whiskey for the Holy Ghost

After the surprise success of his 1990 solo debut, The Winding Sheet, Mark Lanegan, the singer for the Screaming Trees, worked for several years on the follow-up Whiskey for the Holy Ghost. Where Sheet had been casual and skeletal, Ghost was intensely layered and methodical. The expertise of multi-instrumentalist / producer Mike Johnson ensured a dark uniformity that made the entire album feel like one long tour of Hades. Lanegan sings from his deepest end and growls like a cornered tiger throughout, building towards catharsis from the onset. "The River Rise" sets the dreary tone, only to be bludgeoned by the punishing feedback of "Borracho" before settling in for the campfire intimacy of "House a Home" where a violin streaks across the lonely desert floor. "Carnival," "Riding the Nightingale," and "Shooting Gallery" paint further desperate pictures. These are blues songs with modern situations and implications, the sound of desperate addicts seeking salvation amongst the cultural detachment and ruin of the perennial outsider.

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