Over the last decade, Mark Lanegan and Duke Garwood have worked in tangent on 2013's Black Pudding as well as on Lanegan's solo records (Garwood contributed to 2012's Blues Funeral and 2017's Gargoyle after which he toured as part of Lanegan's band). The Summer of 2018 sees the duo releasing their second official album together entitled With Animals.
Its 12 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 recognizable. It's soul music for anyone who's long since left the crossroads. The writing and recording of With Animals was split between studio collaboration and sharing music between Garwood's home in London and Los Angeles where Lanegan resides. Technology made the duo's transatlantic working relationship relatively easy.
While Black Pudding put Garwood's mercurial guitar center stage, With Animals is constructed from a different set of tools. Analogue and dust flecked, it sounds like Lanegan and Garwood have been holed up in a '60s recording studio while the apocalypse rages outside. Tracks sit on loops that sound like they're straight out of There's A Riot Goin' On while sparse melodies nod in the direction of British electronic producers like Burial or Boards of Canada. Which is not to say it sounds like any of those things – this is a weird world all of their own design.