Sound — 10
I was in the process of writing a review for latest Mark Lanegan project, The Gutter Twins (in which he croons alongside Greg Dulli), when I felt compelled to write one for this album. It's hard to pinpoint what's the most surprising thing about It's Not How Far You Fall, It's the Way You Land (let's shorten it to INHFUF, ItWYL), as there are a few things. Maybe it's the fact that the English remix team, comprised of Rich Machin and Ian Glover, managed to rope in former Screaming Trees vocalist Mark Lanegan for the majority of their second at all. Or maybe the most surprising thing is how fantastic the album is (well I only review albums I like, so I was hardly going to bash it now, was I). INHFUF, ItWYL opens with lead single "Revival", a song so close to audio perfection it beats the closest comparison I could muster ("Tender" by Blur) into the ground. It's simplicity personified, as are the majority of the tracks and no instruments are wasted. The rest of the album shows off more of the Soulsavers dance background, each track hooked by a memorable beat whether it be played on drums or frequently, organ. It's a testament to the Englishmen that despite having one of the world's great vocalists at their disposal, they use Lanegan sparingly, fitting in two wonderful instrumentals (three if you count the hidden "End Title Theme"). They also show the great art of making a cover their own, stripping down three tracks ("Kingdoms of Rain" actually being one of Lanegan's) to their bare bones, yet still packing them full of emotion.
Lyrics — 9
Somewhat akin to dance music, the lyrics are sparse on the original songs, Lanegan having a co-writer credit alongside the Soulsavers for every track he sings on. The themes are redemption and religion; it's hard not to be deeply affected as Lanegan croons "Jesus, I don't wanna' die alone" into the night on "Spiritual". Despite all the praise I frequently lavish on Lanegan, the Gospel vocals of Wendy Rose and Lena Palmer are perfect on the three tracks they share alongside the dark lord himself. In fact the cover of Neil Young's "Through My Sails" is essentially a glorious duet. I guess the Soulsavers deserve their credit in bringing the lyrics of the covers to the forefront, with their sparse arrangement, they turn Jagger's words (on "No Expectations") into something different entirely.
Overall Impression — 10
The Gutter Twins album is not a bad album, far from it. But it's missing something and that something is present and accounted for on INHFUF, ItWYL. My favourite record of 2007 is brimming with an undeniable power, that just isn't around much anymore, hell, I'd even call it a veiled concept album. If this album was a person, it'd be a dying man, alone in the dark desperately seeking redemption before it's too late. He begs for forgiveness on "Revival", reflects and curses his past actions on "Paper Money" (another highlight thanks to Lanegan's howls) before fading away on "No Expectations". Am I reading to much into this? Of course, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Soulsavers meant something along those lines. Sure the album isn't perfect (I love the instrumentals, but they succeed, barely), but it has something none of the other records from last year had. It's timeless, up there with Lanegan's best and most likely something the Soulsavers will never top. I implore you to purchase it.