Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Hawk

Photo: Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Hawk
Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Hawk

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There's a sultry edge to Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan that makes their dreamy country melodies nothing short of intoxicating. The faces of two already well-known bands (Campbell is from the beloved indie band Belle and Sebastian, and Lanegan from grunge band Screaming Trees), the duo have little to prove in order to become popular. Perhaps this is why they chose to travel a musical route different from their past identities: Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan produce a sort of country rock with undertones of '60s jazz like the stuff of Nina Simone's 1965 album I Put a Spell on You.

Their third release, Hawk, is a continuation of Campbell and Lanegan's last album, Sunday at Devil Dirt. As on that album, Lanegan's heavy voice growls over an acoustic guitar, complemented by Campbell's breathy harmonies. Hawk progresses from simple acoustic melodies such as "Cool Water" to dark lullabies such as "Sunrise" to big-band country rock such as "Get Behind Me," transitions which lend more variety to the album than inconsistency. Other tracks blend seamlessly in between, ultimately making Hawk a well-executed exercise in country rock.

Though Campbell and Lanegan won't become country legends, Hawk is a commendable addition to their collection of alluring albums. Each track stays true to its influence, whether it be seductive jazz or gritty country, and the album in its entirety feels complete and satisfying.

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