Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Hawk
Critic Score
Based on 12 reviews
2010 Ratings: #285 / 835
User Score
Based on 4 ratings
August 24, 2010 / Release Date
LP / Format
Vanguard / Label
Folk / Genres
Your Review



Lanegan's vocals may well be the reason that most people are drawn to Hawk, but there are plenty of other reasons to explore the album fully. The closing gospel of Lately is astonishing, mainly due to the soaring vocal talents of Makeda Francisco and Tisha Freddrick. The instrumental fury of the title track is fantastically grubby - feverish saxophones scream, honk, and batter each other into submission over a straight-up 12-bar backbeat. It's simplicity incarnate, and utterly brutal.


Three albums in, the combination still feels unlikely: the once-chirpy Scottish twee star hooking up with the gravelly, drugged-out ex-grunge guy to make warm, languid movie-soundtrack Americana. Nothing in that last sentence seems like it should work. But former Belle and Sebastian singer/cellist Isobel Campbell and former Screaming Trees frontman Lanegan have the sort of chemistry that nobody can fully explain. Their voices hang suspended in the air together, Campbell's feathery light and Lanegan's thick and downtrodden.


Much has been made of the duo of Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan, specifically in regards to their unlikely pairing. Campbell, of course, rose to indie fame in Belle and Sebastian, serving as the quiet and sexy foil to the studious and inquisitive Stuart Murdoch. Along with the rest of B&S, Campbell and Murdoch made twee indie gems before her 2002 departure, deftly blending reflective chamber folk with acutely articulate character sketches. Lanegan, conversely, was anything but twee, serving stints in Screaming Trees and later in Queens of the Stone Age.

Drowned in Sound

It’s a small mystery why 'Campbell & Lanegan' hasn’t yet become shorthand for a certain kind of Belle et la Bete pairing that explores the difference between two different vocal textures and – let’s be honest – exploits the fantasy of delicate young Bel being tempted by a grizzled old grunge-legend, and maybe have to tame him or show her own teeth. With the Serge Gainsbourg film in cinemas right now, it’s a timely reminder that’s pretty much what Isobel was thinking three albums ago, when they first hooked up.

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Track List

  1. We Die and See Beauty Reign
  2. You Won't Let Me Down Again
  3. Snake Song
  4. Come Undone
  5. No Place to Fall
  6. Get Behind Me
  7. Time of the Season
  8. Hawk
  9. Sunrise
  10. To Hell & Back Again
  11. Cool Water
  12. Eyes of Green 
  13. Lately

Contributions By
patton, royalflush, erik