Imitations - VAGRANT
FILTER Grade: 83%
By Kurt Orzeck on September 18, 2013
Leave it to a musician as self-deprecating as Mark Lanegan to slap his covers album with the lowly title Imitations. He is, however, giving proper reverence to the giants he tackles—Frank Sinatra, Patsy Cline and Bobby Darin among them. Musos may recall that Lanegan first achieved solo career recognition with a cover of Leadbelly’s wrenching “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” that featured Kurt Cobain. Here, he transfuses his overflows of inner torment—and, really, is there any singer aside from Cobain himself more tormented than Mark Lanegan?—into songs that listeners considered joyful when they were originally played on radio. Lanegan’s versions aren’t as depressing as you might expect; he doesn’t take the same approach as Johnny Cash (whom he previously covered). With lush instrumentation so rich that non-vocal versions of the songs are also included on the album, these pills aren’t exactly chewable, but they’re easy to swallow.