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It all starts with an incantation; something shamanic from a death mask Pied Piper. Over the stuttering click and kick of a primitive drum box and a wash of ebbing, flowing sound, a voice invites the listener to join his nocturnal chorus.
“C’mon now midnight children, sing a dark harmony / lay it down midnight people, create your own alchemy“
Like a crack of light glimpsed from behind a closed door in the black of night, it is a weird and compelling proposition, the first track (entitled Save Me) in the remarkable sequence of songs that forms With Animals.
With Animals is the second album by Mark Lanegan and Duke Garwood, two artists who’ve spent their careers stalking the peripheries and mapping sounds of the small hours. The record’s twelve songs are spectral and sinewy, often defined by the spaces in between the sounds. A ghost’s whistle weaves itself around a pulsing single note on Lonesome Infidel; Feast to Famine’s hard luck story floats above a guitar part so strung out and washed with distortion it’s become barely recognisable. It’s soul music for anyone who’s long since left the crossroads.