Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Album Review - Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan

Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Sunday at the Devil Dirt
[V2 Records; 06/05/2008]

Due to the fact Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan had fished in contrasting waters through their respective musical careers, there were many raised eyebrows when the pair collaborated two years ago. Like love, opposites attract, and in this case the same rules apply.

Sunday at the Devil Dirt is a sombre affair that walks down a path that rarely veers into an alternative direction. Like the duo's debut opus, Ballad of the Broken Seas, Lanegan takes the lead while the undertones of Campbells's luscious whisper is an unguarded formula of the folk genre that fails to grow dull when the pair take to the stage. 'Seafaring Song' sets the trend, with minimal instrumentation and the voices Lanagan and Campbell the main focal point of standings.

'Salvation' is a one horse town pub swoon with Lanagan bathed in bourbon, while the haunting shoot out during 'Backburner' holds minimal haunting sounds with Lanegan's Tom Waits esque vocal pipes once again the feature while Campbell wallows 'backburner, backburner'. However, no other rises to fame like the sombre undertones of stand out track, 'Trouble', which could be aptly played in your car stereo while you take the exit route out of your home town for good.

Despite SATDD failing to weigh up to the pair's debut outing, there's still enough quality for multiple listens. The blissfully gentle voice of Campbell and the whiskey and cigarette addled drawls of Lanegan have always been – if not surprising to some - a match made in heaven. It's the perfect comedown album after a hard day's slog, while a cigarette and short beverage shouldn't be too far out of arm's reach.

By Simon K

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