Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Ballad of the Broken Seas

Mark Lanegan and Isobel Campbell
Ballad of the Broken Seas (2006)
Review by Den Tenksomme Vraslosken

It‘s been two years since we last heard from the singer-songwriter and Rock and Roll sinner Mark Lanegan, it‘s been very quiet since the release of the critically acclaimed “Bubblegum”.

This time around he is collaborating with Isobel Campbell, best known for her work with Pop superstars Belle and Sebastian.

Just looking at the front cover tells you this is definitely an album for a rainy night. She is standing in front of a mirror, arranging her hair as if she is about to leave, while he is lying on the bed, reading a book. This solitude and sadness shines through in every single song.

It is a classic recipe that has proven successful in the past; put an angelic virgin together with a corrupted soul. Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue, Johnny Cash and June Carter, Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin. You can‘t go wrong with real men and sweet girls.

The deep and howling mutters and groans of Lanegan, combined with the half-whispered softness of Campbell‘s voice gives this album a deep, rich and compelling sound.

The first track is a cover of Hank Williams “Rambling Man”, a song you should treat with the respect it deserves. But with a voice like Mark Lanegan, you certainly could be excused for trying. With use of cellos, electrical guitar and deep bass-lines, he adds new life to the material. When he is moaning “when the Lord made me, he made a rambling man” you believe him, and Campbell‘s soft answer makes it all so beautifully sad.

This melancholic note follows in songs like “The False Husband” and "Honey Child What Can I Do?", where Lanegan’s songwriting comes to it‘s right. Lanegan is a man able to portray decay and loneliness in a way that sends shivers down your spine. The sadness of it all is relieved by the soft and tender voice of Campbell. Make no mistake, this is very sexy music.

Lanegan and Campbell are not doing anything that hasn‘t been done before, but it is solid, beautiful and never mediocre. The first half of the album is quieter than the last part, where Lanegan allows himself to play on a louder and heavier string.

Songs like "It's Hard to Kill a Bad Thing" and "Dusty Wreath" should fit like hand in glove for his hard-hitting live performances, and let‘s hope he somehow manage to lure Campbell with him.

This is one of the best albums I‘ve heard all year, and one that gives me faith in that there still is possible to squeeze fresh juice out of the four chords of Rock and Roll. Run and buy!


Blogger Grillski said...

Jeg tror vårslappheten har spredd seg til blogverden. Ingen som skriver nye ting, ingen som kommenterer noe. Hurra det er vår ((selv om det snydde i går)wowow, nødrim-alarm!))! Om du er i Bergen sånn ca 9-13 juni sees vi sikkert.

3:29 PM  

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