Mark Lanegan, Field Songs (Sub Pop) With the warm breeze caressing your temple, you float high across a summer's night sky dotted by the galaxies and their reflections. You stream peacefully through the soft mix of oxygen, condensation and darkness. Detached but inquisitive, you watch from above as the world's story passes by as if in slow motion. Feeling your separation from it, you simultaneously smile and cry. You have no desire to return. And, with this, you feel strangely at ease — and at peace. Listening to the intensely dreamlike Field Songs feels much the same. Like an opportunity to escape life's trivial qualities and see them from a place where they've lost meaning (Ha!). Like a magic carpet, the album whisks the listener to a carefree land far, far away, where your emotions are centered and understood. Former Screaming Trees frontman Lanegan's singing is evocative and moving. The music is intricate and exotic, delicate and soothing. The inventive arrangements keep the sound fresh from song to song. "No Easy Action" is made ghostly with the beautiful Indian-influenced cries of a woman layered in the background. The lullaby "Pill Hill Serenade" soothes with a music box-like melody and whistling organ. With dueling acoustic guitars and a heart-wrenching solo, "Low" is dark and repentant: "Too dark for finding my ground/ Now trees shiver and sway/ Have you ever seen something go down?/ To keep in mind all of your days/ Tell her I want to say goodbye/ For I was dead and gone/ Tell her I didn't want to lie/ Left you well enough alone." This dark, glum-folk collection feels like the most alluring opportunity for escape, like it's carving out a black hole in the wall of reality and inviting you through, — Jenny Tatone

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