Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan

By MIKAEL WOOD  |  March 6, 2006
3.0 3.0 Stars

NO HELLO KITTY OVERKILL HERE: Lanegan keeps Campbell in check.There’s always been a threat of Hello Kitty overkill in music by former Belle and Sebastian chanteuse Isobel Campbell — that’s the price of a voice as light and wispy as Campbell’s, and of material so consciously designed to evoke the lost innocence of childhood. Wise move, then, that she should link up with Screaming Trees frontman (and occasional Queen of the Stone Age) Mark Lanegan, whose low, boozy rumble communicates anything but innocence. Their pairing on Ballad of the Broken Seas, a collection of darkly romantic folk-pop ballads, benefits both singers, allowing Campbell to sound like the adult she is and giving Lanegan the opportunity to prove he doesn’t bite the heads off bats for amusement between slugs of whiskey. They actually recorded most of the vocals separately — she in Glasgow, he in LA — and you can hear that isolation in the music. But the disconnect kind of works, since what these tunes seem to speak of more than anything is the addictive futility of love.

Isobel Campbell + Damon & Naomi | March 12 | Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave, Boston | 617.369.3306


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