Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan
"Sunday at Devil Dirt"

(Fontana Intl./V2 2008)Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Sunday at Devil Dirt

Although it may have started off as a somewhat unlikely union, Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan have quickly proven their musical collaborations to be a successful partnership. The former Bell & Sebastian singer, Campbell's collaboration with Lanegan on 2006's "Ballad of the Broken Seas" was a soulful and spunky mixture of the two that saw rave reviews and a nomination for the coveted indie rock award the Mercury Music Prize. With that kind of success, it's unsurprising the two have reunited for "Sunday At Devil Dirt."

Independent of each other, Campbell and Lanegan are both strong on "Devil Dirt." Campbell is sultry over bluesy slide guitar on "Shotgun Blues" while Lanegan reminds of another of his recent collaborations -- this one with Soulsavers -- on "Back Burner." "Come On Over (Turn Me On)" gives a naughty wink with a classy and seductive arrangement to match the lyrics while "The Flame That Burns" sounds as though it stepped straight out of a French art film with light and jaunty blues. Elsewhere, the somber spoken word of "Raven" brings to mind a less vitriolic Nick Cave complete with full instrumentation.

"Sunday At Devil Dirt" falls short in the same way that the duo's debut album did in that it plays not like an album of duets but more like a Mark Lanegan album orchestrated by Isobel Campbell. Lanegan's influence, not just his voice, is more profound this time around as the now not so unlikely duo seems to focus their attentions less on snappy, catchy tunes. Instead Campbell and Lanegan make "Sunday At Devil Dirt" into a somber and breezy album that remains in the shadows.

A-

buy it!