What do you get when you combined the electronic eccentricities of Death in Vegas, mixed with atmospheric lush keys of Moby and the darkened gospel of one Mark Lanegan? The result is the Soulsavers. The perfect name for this band and since we are coming up to the end of the year, one of the best and unheard and soon to be underground classics of 2007.
Personally speaking, It’s not How Far You Fall, It’s where you Land, is the theme of where I was at the beginning of the year. Where were you in January, Soulsavers? Oh well, better late than never. This album is like the soundtrack to a 21st Century resurrection. I’ve already seen the light and come out of the other side glowing, stronger and better than ever. It’s not How Far You Fall is for when you’re ready to get up off the ground and peel off those scars in your new and unfamiliar skin, feel the revival in your bones and in your veins.
Speaking of which, “Revival” is the opening cut of the album. It’s impossible not to feel inspired by this soulful number. It’s like a Southern Gothic soul number with Mark Lanegan crooning “Wanna see revival tonight/Lord, it needs to be revival,” backed by gospel singers that you would find singing to the heavens at any church in New Orleans. I was moved throughout “Revival” especially by the soulful organ keys; I felt like shouting, “I was blind now I can see!”
Soulsavers don’t leave you hanging at the gates, no sir—the journey with Mark Lanegan as your guide continues with the funky and faithful “The Ghost of You and Me.” This song feels like it’s haunted, with twisted sax solos and distinctive backing beats that will have your heart racing, ready for more lyrical sermons.
I’ve always said that Mark Lanegan is the Post Modern Johnny Cash. He’s doesn’t just dress in black, though—Lanegan is The Man of Midnight. He is darkness incarnate with the light of devotion burning within him. It’s this dichotomy of faith and fire that I have always respected from this timeless vocalist. Without his voracious vocals, Soulsavers would be soulless and empty. Lanegan continues his search for salvation on “Paper Money.” He sings “Don’t you ever leave me baby/ I believe that you can save me/ Heaven, just a taste/ Heaven’s so far away.” It’s as if Lanegan’s seeking for his savior outside the holy halls of a church inside his lovers arms. He believes in something, someone out there, rather than a deity it sounds like this soul singer would rather kneel down for just a touch of love.
“Are those halos in your hair/ or diamonds shining there/without a hope without a prayer?” Lanegan sings continuing his search for the one in “The Kingdom of Rain.” In this largely acoustic number, Mark’s deep vocals are showcased like a loner crooning to the stars: “Before I go I’m hanging on a cross on the nail/I hung on for you in there.” He echoes throughout this lament as an ode to the love he’s dying to find. Listen for the Neil Young cover of “Through My Sails,” a duet with The Sultan of Sorrow, Bonnie “Prince” Billy. This beautiful number is one of the album’s staples carries on journey you can feel Lanegan and Billy reaching new heights as they croon together, “Still glaring from the city lights/ into paradise I soared/ unable to come down.”
And even though you won’t want this trip to end, Soulsavers have saved the best for the finale—a gospel tinged cover of Rolling Stones “No Expectations.” The end of the road never sounded this hopefully, beautiful and free. “Our love is like our music/ its here, and then it’s gone” are the words that perfectly speak to the feeling I had at the conclusion of It’sNnot How Far You Fall, It’s where you Land. You’re left dying to re-experience this righteous adventure again.
Though the name of the band is Soulsavers, the star of this show is definitely Mark Lanegan. He’s a midnight singer whose voice is like a cigarette burning brightly in the dark. We follow his smoky flavor with songs like hymns, darkened with doubt but still shining with the hope of fulfillment. In every breath he croons for all of us who have fallen and are ready to continue our fight of survival. Lanegan’s voice inspires you to believe in yourself and to sing the songs of your own salvation louder than ever before.
Death In Vegas – Dead Elvis
Moby – Play
Mark Lanegan – Whiskey for the Holy Ghost