Album: Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan, Sunday at Devil Dirt (V2)

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The Independent Culture

Like its predecessor, Ballad of the Broken Seas, this follow-up collaboration capitalises on the emotional piquancy of the contrast between Lanegan's smoky baritone and Campbell's honeyed tones, a dialectic of innocence and experience that animates the flawed spirits in her songs.

This motley crew of sailors, suitors, saviours and shape-changing birds is represented by a much wider range of musical approaches, with shanties, blues and folk songs joined by lilting waltzes, spaghetti-Western guitar, sultry torch-songs, and even, in "Flame that Burns", a blend of camel-lope percussion, faltering piano and car-horns. Highlights are many and varied, with Campbell's airy harmonies on "Seafaring Song" reminiscent of Espers; the understated guitar and yawning double bass of "Trouble" sounding like an Astral Weeks outtake; and the swamp-funk of "Back Burner" a seeming refugee from Dr John's Gris-Gris.

As for the melancholy, antique tone, it can be summed up in this couplet from "Salvation": "Blood is thick, and so's my old grey hide/Gotta get up and moan."

Pick of the album: 'Back Burner', 'Trouble', 'Who Built the Road', 'Something to Believe'

Click here to listen to clips and to buy this album

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