“Nocturne” opens with a shadowy grumble, all bottom-end clawing from beneath the surface, before a switch flicks on and overhanging lights of synthesizer suddenly crackle to life. Not a moment later, Mark Lanegan throws his voice into the mix with the force of a wrecking ball, smashing all the instrumentation into fragments that orbit for the remainder of the song around his densely-centered vocals. As a former member of Screaming Trees and Queens Of The Stone Age, Lanegan is no stranger to wringing beauty out of gloom, yet “Nocturne” doesn’t so much prove gorgeous in spite of its components as it gives them the proper lighting to reveal their inherent sparkle. Much like his last solo album, 2014’s Phantom Radio, it’s a seamless merge of the more synthetic elements that have creeped into Lanegan’s solo work over the years with his base in dingy alt-rock.
The song is the lead single from Lanegan’s upcoming studio album Gargoyle, and is stunning not only for the music’s scintillating sheen, but also for Lanegan’s excellent performance. His gruff baritone has always been reminiscent of Leonard Cohen, but here he recalls the late great’s iridescent lyrics with a moribund romanticism. “Do you miss me, miss me darling?/ God knows I miss you,” he moans, tender and tired. There’s an airy chaos circulating throughout the track, but Lanegan’s weighty sincerity centers everything to his steady drawl. He’s reaching out not to come with you, but to pull you back to him. Check out the album tracklist and listen to “Nocturne” below.
01 “Deaths Head Tattoo”
03 “Blue Blue Sea”
07 “Goodbye To Beauty”
08 “Drunk On Destruction”
09 “First Day Of Winter”
10 “Old Swan”
Gargoyle is out 4/28 via Heavenly Recordings.