Collaborations with PJ Harvey, icy synthpop and rollicking psychedelia all feature in songs from across the career of a prolific musical great
With a lineup featuring Alice in Chains vocalist Layne Staley, Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready and Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin, the supergroup Mad Season represented a who’s-who of Seattle’s 90s music scene. It’s only fitting that Mark Lanegan would join the fray. On the group’s 1995 debut Above, he co-wrote the bittersweet duet Long Gone Day with Staley. The pair passed a piece of paper back and forth between them, building the song’s evocative imagery (“Silver spoons affix the crown / The luckless ones are broken”) line by line. Accordingly, Long Gone Day is sombre and driven by acoustic instrumentation, namely Martin’s thrumming percussion, although there’s a distinct smoky jazz lounge vibe thanks to freewheeling saxophone from local legend Skerik. Long Gone Day is also an early, prominent example of the brittle, honeyed side of Lanegan’s voice; his meditative vulnerability stands in sharp contrast with Staley’s more extroverted, anguished yowl.