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After last year's covers album Imitations, Mark Lanegan is back as The Mark Lanegan Band with a new EP, No Bells On Sunday. From the opening beats of 'Dry Iced', it's evident that this EP follows in a vein very similar to that of 2012's brilliant Blues Funeral. The drums and synths drive the song forward in a mechanised manner that has an almost krautrock nature. 'Sad Lover' takes this a step further and is uncannily similar to 'Ode To Sad Disco' from Blues Funeral. The acoustic mellowness of 'Jonas Pap' is the only point at which Lanegan veers away from electro-rock. Unfortunately it veers sharply into pointless territory and is quickly forgotten. It feels like nothing more than a lazy interlude.

The EP closes with the eight-minute long 'Smokestack Magic'. The etherial synths which swirl unnervingly throughout provide the only real sonic deviation on the record. The rest of the song once again sounds like a leftover from the Blues Funeral recording sessions.

Despite the obvious similarities and lack of development between the two records, the songwriting is still strong enough for these songs to hold their own on an EP. Were this a full length release however, the repetitiveness would become testing. Even by the end of these five tracks, you do find yourself craving variety and wishing a few more risks had been taken. As impressive as Mark Lanegan's voice will always be, he needs to challenge himself considerably more if his next album is going to avoid the same pitfalls that stick out like a sore thumb on this EP.

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