It's Not How Far You Fall, It's the Way You Land

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If Rich Machin and Ian Glover were aiming for a dark, moody vibe on their debut album as Soulsavers, 2003's Tough Guys Don't Dance, they hit the jackpot when they persuaded Mark Lanegan to lend his vocal talents to their second full-length project, It's Not How Far You Fall, It's the Way You Land. While the downbeat atmosphere of Soulsavers' languid drum loops, spare keyboard patterns, and ghostly string samples certainly set the stage for their celebration of the dark night of the soul, Lanegan's vocals steal the show and run with it on the opening track, "Revival," and if anything he pulls the songs into even deeper and more forbidding territory as the album goes along. The quiet desperation of Lanegan's performance on "Spiritual," the ragged menace of "Ghosts of You and Me" and the blasted, forlorn resignation of "No Expectations" rank with his finest recorded work to date, and as strong as the musical backdrops are on this set, it's all but impossible to imagine these songs being nearly as effective with anyone else as lead singer. It's also worth noting that the most effective songs on this album happen to be covers, suggesting that while Soulsavers have no small talent as producers and arrangers, they have a ways to go in terms of writing material. But if Lanegan takes the spotlight away from Machin and Glover on It's Not How Far You Fall, It's the Way You Land, they unquestionably gave him a remarkable vehicle for his vocal skills, and it would certainly be to the advantage of both sides for Soulsavers and Lanegan to collaborate again some day.

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