- Audio CD (16 Aug. 2010)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: CD
- Label: V2 Coop
- ASIN: B003O855C8
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 42,662 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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The most unlikely pairing in rock is now three albums old, and still it’s surprising that Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan have very much in common at all, let alone the ability to inhabit the same songs. Yet for all the eyebrows raised by a country-folk partnership between the fragrant, whisper-voiced founding member and cellist of Belle and Sebastian and the former ‘exhaustion’-prone ex-junkie singer with Screaming Trees and Queens of the Stone Age, it’s a union that just keeps on giving, with the steelier, more focussed Hawk the best they’ve given yet.
They may take co-billing, but the plaudits all belong to Campbell. As much as Lanegan’s gruff, Marlboros ’n’ bourbon growl is a draw card, Campbell is writer, producer, arranger and constant counterpoint to Lanegan’s malevolence. Hawk cements her standing alongside maverick serial collaborators such as Kurt Wagner and Will Oldham.
It’s in the way she blends country, blues and deep soul into something entirely her own, like a latter-day Bobbie Gentry. Come Undone revisits the torn yet unconditional love of Bettye LaVette’s Let Me Down Easy and James Brown’s It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World; You Won’t Let Me Down Again (with former Smashing Pumpkin James Iha on guitar) and Snake Song are black-hearted warnings to anyone who dares get too close; and Get Behind Me is a nail-hard bar-room stomp.
Sunrise – a solo Campbell track – could be Richard Hawley playing alongside Nancy Sinatra; Cool Water, one of two duets with Willy Mason, is a piece of lo-fi Johnny Cash and June Carter playfulness; Eyes of Green filters a Celtic ballad through Appalachian backwaters; and Lately revels in a touch of Hammond-led gospel to close the album on a joyous high. It’s also a sly nod to Bob Dylan, a particular Campbell hero: never one for the pernicious act of front-loading, pick up almost any Dylan album and the final track, as with Lately, will likely be amongst its best. Go on, try it.
During the album’s opening song, We Die and See Beauty Reign, Campbell and Lanegan sing that, “We f***** it up / forced the pace”. But nothing could be further from the truth.--Andy Fyfe
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Top Customer Reviews
My first impressions are that it isn't as strong as the previous albums overall, however it's still a lot better than most music out there and there are some great moments in there.
Trying to work out why I wasn't quite so impressed with this album I relistened to my personal favourite 'Ballad of the Broken Seas'. What I love about that album is the use of the two artist personalities Mark's growling apocolpytic cowboy and Isobel's lilting folk temptress are at their best when they have a dialogue together. Songs like 'The False Husband' where he asks and she answers, or the super sexy 'Ramblin' Man' with their overlayed vocal tracks are simply amazing. Sometimes they would trade off individual tracks so Mark gets the tital track and Isobel get's 'Saturday's Gone' and the rest of the time they come together in sweet harmony.
Well... 'Hawk' relies much more on this last type of song, essentially Mark leading and Isobel providing little more than backing vocals. Their collaberation began as her idea and her style guided much of the earlier work, but on this third record it feels like Mark is driving, much more of his sound and less of hers - though in certain songs that perfect balance is still there, most clearly in the haunting opening track 'We Die and See Beauty Reign'(which unfortunatly got me really excited and left me a bit disappointed with what followed). 'Come Undone' is also very good, but reminded me of the superior earlier song 'Come on Over (Turn me on)'.
Isobel does get two solo tracks again 'Sunrise' and 'To Hell and Back again', but they are placed back to back and so don't punctuate the album as well as before.Read more ›
When they first appeared together in 2006, with the sublime Ballad Of The Broken Seas, we were all awestruck at how the incredibly unlikely combination of Lanegan's gruff growl and Campbell's sweet lyrical phrasings mix to give a sound of amazing depth and feeling. On this, their third full length album, the surprise at how well the combination works has worn off a little, we are now in awe of the sheer consistency of their work together, and how every album reaches such heights.
Once again the mood is reflective, with tales of love and regret that would fit in well for an evening alone with memories and a bottle of wine. The opening few tracks are slow, smoky pieces that just burn straight through to the soul. From about track six the tone becomes a little more varied, with the inclusion of a few nice up tempo tracks that evoke the same mood but stop the record becoming monotonous. A lot of work has gone into putting the tracks into the best listening order to make this a coherent album, and it shows.
A highly recommended album, one that will appeal to those who like meaningful and emotionally intense music which packs a real punch. If there is any justice then this album should win a few awards. Excellent work Isobel and Mark, I look forward to hearing more from you in the future.
I didn't expect to like it as much as I do but it is now one of my most played albums and I just can't get enough!
This is an extremely accessible album, as they try out lots of different styles. We Die and See Beauty Reign is a fairly slight, spooky duet but it's followed by You Won't Let Me Down Again. This is a confident, striding track built on a James Iha riff with a great melody and a really good vocal from Lanegan.
Townes Van Zandt casts a long shadow over this album, as 2 of his songs are covered here, Snake Song and No Place To Fall. The first of these is a fairly faithful interpretation. Van Zandt's music has been cited as an influence on Lanegan's solo albums, and this comparison may go some way towards explaining why he chose to sit out the second of these tracks, allowing Willy Mason to take the vocals. Some might find his vocals jarring but he fits in fine here in my opinion, adding a sort of curveball into the mix. His voice is not too far removed from Van Zandt's, and there is a nice fiddle part here also.
In between these tracks is Come Undone, which is like a mixture of Come On Over (Turn Me On) from previous album Sunday at Devil Dirt, and James Brown's It's A Man's Man's World. So an unashamed big ballad then, featuring strings and a kitchen-sink style arrangement, and wonderfully tender vocals from Campbell and Lanegan.
The moods shift and twist throughout this album, as Get Behind Me is a kind of bluesy stomp, as is the title track. Time of the Season, however is a gorgeous duet, more akin to Honey Child What Can I Do (off Ballad of the Broken Seas) with sweeping strings and harmonies.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am almost afraid to review this CD as nothing I say will do it justice. But its so good I have to tell the world. Read morePublished on 26 Aug. 2010 by ReviewWithaView
So the novelty effect is gone and the Nancy&Lee comparisons are all played out.
It indeed IS all Campbell's work and credit where credit's due. Read more