Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan

By MATT ASHARE  |  January 11, 2006
3.0 3.0 Stars
BEDMATES: Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan do an appealing dance on Ramblin' Man.Isobel Campbell got her start playing cello and singing in the Glasgow indie collective Belle and Sebastian. And she’s the one signed to V2. But it’s the warm, gruff, familiar tone of Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan’s voice that dominates this four-song EP’s opening track, a hauntingly spare cover of Hank Williams’s "Ramblin’ Man" that brings to mind some of Nick Cave’s rootsier excursions. Indeed, Campbell remains well in the background, whisper-singing angelic responses to the lonesome call of a world-weary Lanegan. And even on the Campbell original that follows, "(Do You Wanna) Come Walk with Me?", it’s still Lanegan who leads as the two waltz around the strum of a single acoustic guitar. This is familiar terrain for Lanegan, who started recording stripped-down country-blues solo material even before the Trees broke up. His "Revolver (Pt. 2)" finally gives Campbell a chance to showcase her alluring voice with little more than a few reverb-drenched guitar notes to guide it. And he also steps aside on their heavy-hearted co-arrangement of the trad folk-blues standard "St. James Infirmary." Campbell and Lanegan are indeed strange bedmates. But that’s only a small part of what makes Ramblin’ Man such an appealing tease for the album to come. The rest is all chemistry.
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  Topics: CD Reviews , Belle and Sebastian, Mark Lanegan, Hank Williams,  More more >
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