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isobel campbell and mark lanegan - Sunday At Devil Dirt
For a man who looks like he's been deceased for the best part of a decade, Mark Lanegan isn't half busy at the moment. Hot on the heels of his Greg Dulli collaboration as one half of the Gutter Twins, Lanegan gets back together with Isobel Campbell for a sequel to their acclaimed, Mercury Prize-nominated Ballad Of The Broken Seas. As suggested by Isobel Campbell's Daisy Duke makeover on the sleeve, this album is firmly rooted in Americana and country, albeit at the darker peripheries of the genre. Together, these two have come up with an album of tense, cinematic songwriting, laced with the kind of arrangements you'd find on a Calexico album, or in its more condensed, bluesy moments, something from Tom Waits' catalogue. Sunday At Devil Dirt comes together brilliantly as an album, carrying a very pronounced sense of menace in its bleak, Western atmospherics, but it's the tenderness between the two main players' voices that makes this record what it is. You'd think that Lanegan's demonic baritone and Campbell's soft intonations would be too contradictory to be genuinely compatible, but the dramatic juxtaposition works beautifully when they do pair up. As with the previous record, Lanegan takes the lead, but the writing and arrangement all comes from Campbell. It's clearly a winning formula.