Sunday at Devil Dirt | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Saturday, November 28th, 2020  

Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan

Sunday at Devil Dirt

Fontana International/V2

Nov 02, 2008 Year End 2008 - Best of 2008 Bookmark and Share

Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan’s first album-length collaboration, 2006’s Ballad of the Broken Seas, seemed almost too good to be true—a chance long-distance pairing of the ex-Belle & Sebastian siren and the grizzled Screaming Trees/Queens of the Stone age rocker, with a sound deeply reflective of Campbell’s old Lee Hazlewood/Nancy Sinatra records. The match was one made in music heaven and the album rendered itself timeless upon first listen.

Sunday at Devil Dirt proves that the duo’s magic was not fleeting. Compared with Ballad of the Broken Seas, Sunday is much of the same, benefiting from the indescribable vocal chemistry that was firmly established on the debut. Still, a subtle yet distinct old Americana feel is present this time around, due surely to Campbell’s recent discovery of the treasure trove of early American folk, The Harry Smith Anthology of Folk Music. “Keep Me in Mind Sweetheart” and “Sally Don’t You Cry” are simple guitar-led stories of love and longing, while “Back Burner” injects some Southern gospel into the template. These are true American classics, written almost a century late. “Shot Gun Blues,” a spare acoustic blues sung entirely by Campbell, even recreates the crackle and pop of an old 78, adding backwoods authenticity to the song’s saucy, sinful lyrical flavor. Elsewhere, lush orchestration accents songs like “Who Built the Road” and the mysterious “Seafaring Song,” and “Come On Over (Turn Me On)” is a sleazy plea covered in big strings and rounded out with a huge guitar solo at the song’s end. With Sunday at Devil Dirt, Campbell and Lanegan have created a more-than-able followup to their classic debut. And while the pair doesn’t play with the formula much, why would you mess with perfection? (

Author rating: 7/10

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