Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Hawk - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Hawk

by Rich Morris Rating:7 Release Date:2010-08-16

An unlikely musical pairing they may appear to be, but former Belle & Sebastian chanteuse Isobel Campbell and former Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan have now made three albums of dusty, folky alt-country together. Hawk is perhaps the most complete realisation of their partnership yet.

Once again, Campbell writes and arranges the songs, intuitively using Lanegan's grizzled, careworn voice as a counterpoint to her own wispy, spectral vocals. Musically, much of Hawk is as dry and arid as a desert, but it's full of bruised emotions and seductively aching passion, as on 'You Won't Let Me Down Again', the gorgeously woozy, Mazzy Star-esque 'To Hell & Back Again' and the equally magical, Nancy Sinatra influenced 'Sunrise'. Both 'To Hell & Back Again' and 'Sunrise' feature Campbell solo, and are the standout tracks on Hawk.

There's also space for some classic soul, which can be found on the imperious but swaying 'Come Undone', and a straight up country ballad on the lovely, orchestral 'Time of the Season'. Meanwhile, Willy Mason pops up to duet on 'Cool Water' and 'Eyes of Green', although these prove to be the album's most soporific moments. Hawk is a very good, accomplished record, but since its best moments are Campbell's alone, one has to wonder how much she really needs Lanegan or anyone else.

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