by / September 24th, 2009 /

Soulsavers – Broken

 1/5 Rating

(V2/Co-op)

Following on from 2007’s well-received It’s Not How Far You Fall’¦ album, British electronic duo Soulsavers have once again enlisted the services of Mark Lanegan to vocalise their film soundtrack-esque experimentations for their third release. Although he still lords over proceedings, Lanegan is joined for the first time by an array of well known musical faces from Richard Hawley through to Mike Patton on what turns out to be this pair’s most ambitious outing to date.

From the majestic opener -The Seventh Proof’ through to the film noir elements of -Rolling Sky’, the sheer timelessness of this record becomes increasingly apparent. On first listen, the pulsating -Death Bells’ is the most instantaneous and graspable. Featuring a cameo by Gibby Haynes of Butthole Surfers prominence, this stomping, guitar-bolstered rock track is quickly relegated to being one of the weaker tracks on what unfolds as a truly impressive album. -Pharaoh’s Chariot’ and -Wise Blood’ in particular show how expansive their sound has become, without losing any of its inspired intimacy.

Despite the inherent gloom and catharsis of tracks like the piano-led Palace Brothers cover ‘You Will Miss Me When I Burn’, Broken is an inexplicably uplifting listening experience. While it lacks the breathtaking quality of a song impossible to forget like -Revival’, this album surpasses Soulsavers’ back catalogue and is easily one of Lanegan’s best collaborations to date.

Also moonlighting on this record is none other than Mike Patton, featuring on the catchy, laid-back funk of -Unbalanced Pieces’ in one of rock’s fantasy pairings. Meanwhile, lush female vocals are provided by Red Ghost (AKA Rosa Agostino) who puts in an impressive turn as an unlikely foil for Lanegan’s gravelly croon on tracks like -Praying Ground’ and most notably on -By My Side’. While Lanegan is a tough act to follow, the Aussie newcomer takes no prisoners in her vocal delivery, whilst showing that Soulsavers are more than a Lanegan-related side project.

Despite the name, this is far from a fragmented offering. In the face of a revolving door of guest appearances, Soulsavers have come up with an altogether more cohesive record than their previous two LPs. While they haven’t strayed too far from the bluesy, electronic base they call home, with Broken, Soulsavers have produced some subtly beautiful and atmospheric music – creating a perfect soundtrack to those whiskey-fuelled nights and redemption-pleading mornings.

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