Since her departure from Belle & Sebastian, Isobel Campbell’s solo career has been patchy (her atrocious take on 60s classic ‘Bang Bang’, anyone?). Yet with Ballad of the Broken Seas, her first collaboration with rent-a-guest-vocalist Mark Lanegan, it seemed she had pulled perfection out of the bag. Third time around, the question is – have they exhausted this musical love affair? Hawk is no great departure from its two predecessors. Less gothic than the debut but still inspired by film noir, it blends wistful folk with the bruised heart of Americana.
Think Nancy and Lee with Hank Williams along for the ride, while borrowing from the rock ‘n roll heyday on ’Get Behind Me’. Although billed as a partnership, on record Campbell’s voice is still in the supporting role, relying on the tried and tested growls of her husky counterpart. There is no ‘Revolver’ here but ‘You Won’t Let Me Down Again’ comes pretty near and although ‘Come Undone’ resembles ‘Come On Over (Turn Me On)’ too much it’s still a damn sexy tune. It could just be their best album yet.