Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan

Ballas of the Broken Seas (V2)

SXSW Records

Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan

Ballad of the Broken Seas (V2)

Imagine a ghost town in the Old West: tumbleweeds blowing down deserted dirt roads, saloons and gun shops beaten down by nature's cruel fist. Isobel Campbell's slight voice echoes through the alleys on the whim of the wind as Mark Lanegan plays Nick Cave, the only stubborn cowboy left in the town, rocking slowly on the last decrepit porch, a bottle of moonshine next to his rugged boot. An unlikely scenario from the Belle & Sebastian fairy and the Screaming Tree, but a certain one deemed so on their first foray together. Beauty and the beast skip through creepy omens ("Deus Ibi Est," "Black Mountain") and spaghetti Western soundtracks ("The False Husband"). Campbell's absolutely haunting, her whisper chilling on album highlight "Saturday's Gone." A perfect opposite to Lanegan's rustic rasp. Folk throwback "(Do You Wanna) Come Walk With Me?" is a duet for the ages, with the downtrodden title track coming in a close second. Although the strength of Ballad of the Broken Seas doesn't remain constant, closer "The Circus Is Leaving Town" plays like a Leonard Cohen tearjerker. Here's hoping the blonde and beard can make this marriage last. (Isobel Campbell: Friday, March 17, 9pm @ Dirty Dog Bar)

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