Rod Liddle

R.I.P Mark Linkous

R.I.P Mark Linkous
Text settings

It’s a pretty thin and overrated medium, rock music, and too much energy is expended lauding its practitioners. But Mark Linkous, who is dead having shot himself, was one of a small handful with genuine talent which sometimes, just sometimes, teetered into real brilliance. Few people have used the medium better, or understood better how to defy its obvious limitations.

Under the name Sparklehorse, Linkous made one of the two great albums of the 1990s, Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot (the other, I reckon, is Beck’s Mellow Gold). This was a peculiar mélange of southern country, Neil Young, Alex Chilton and Tom Waits, a bit of weirdness and noise, the sound of a child’s train set and various other lunacies. The music was either painfully delicate or abrasive. You can hear one of the songs from it here.

He never quite repeated the feat, although came close on the follow up, Good Morning Spider. Nor did he ever make very much money. Like Young, Chilton and Waits he seemed to have disdain for the small handful of his songs which had (limited) commercial appeal – Rainmaker and Sick of Goodbyes.

That first album, though, is lovely, and prefigured a whole new genre, Americana - which, by now, has become as boring and constrained and predictable as almost everything else in rock music.

Anyway, Mark Linkous, RIP……………………..