Mark Lanegan has a unique, emotional voice, and that pretty much always stays the same, but he has also pretty much always stayed the same. The thing is, for an artist of his caliber, this is fine.
When he sings about new things, he grows musically as well, and this is penultimately the case in Gargoyle, and the remixes of said songs on Still Life With Roses. He grows, or blooms perhaps, in his approach to the art and peace of his lyrics.
As for remixing the songs, it generally works, because the songs are very beat heavy, and his voice is the center on both the old and new. The rhythms on Still Life, while not greatly different, remain a fitting backdrop for Lanegan’s rough, even sometimes, glaringly stressed melodies.
The opener, “Nocturne” (Adrian Sherwood Remix) is powerful and here Lanegan is deeper and louder in the vocals at times, as well as on “Beehive (Andrew Weatherhall Dub)”.
The second track, “Blue Blue Sea (Not Waving Remix)” is an okay beat, but not much better than the original, and the songs lags a little.
Moving on though, “Old Swan (Pye Corner Audio Remix)” is about as solid as it gets, a crooning melody by Lanegan over a plodding, almost war-like march. Next, “Beehive (Andrew Weatherhall Dub)” is really better than the original even with weakened vocals, but having the louder or original vocals would have been nice. Lastly, Lanegan closes with “Death’s Head Tattoo (BLOOD MUSIC Falling Percussion Dub)”, which does fit the theme of art, even if it could be faster, and it is solid and tribal sounding, but the other remixes did better with more tempo.
Overall, Still Life With Roses is one of the better Mark Lanegan Band releases, as was the case with Gargoyles, and the remixes are sometimes better, but sometimes not. Art-wise and musically this is a step in the right direction, as even just the first track, “Nocturne (Andrew Sherwood Remix)” makes the album worthwhile.