Duke Garwood’s last album, 2015’s trippy Heavy Love, saw him break out of the shadows and into limited acclaim: a British Mark Lanegan soundalike whose own gravelly tone and gravitas were actually equal to Lanegan’s. Garden of Ashes is less heavy on the guitars, but still simmers eloquently with the heat haze of Garwood’s opiated take on the blues – the blues of the California desert, specifically, given the debt to Lanegan and Queens of the Stone Age’s studio. Loose, heady and sensual by turns, Garden of Ashes surveys both the parlous state of the world and blasted inner landscapes with resonant instrumentation, rattlesnake percussion and a thousand-yard stare. And yet, on songs such as Sleep, the overriding impression is one of succour.
Duke Garwood: Garden of Ashes review – a heady desert heat haze
Kitty Empire is the Observer's pop critic. She has written for NME and occasionally crops up on Radio 4, 5Live, BBC 6Music, and has appeared on BBC2's The Culture Show and Newsnight Review. @kittyempire666