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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Thursday 25 January 2007

Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan: Jekyll & Hyde Have Left The Building

Phone rings, Mr Hyde wanders over and Miss Jekyll, with a voice as sweet as a summer's morn, requests his presence on a song-writing project that will lead to "Ballad Of The Broken Seas, Mercury-nomination and mass critical acclaim.
Lanegan & Campbell : Poles Apart On The Broken Seas!

So it was that Mark Lanegan (Queens of the Stone Age and Screaming Trees) answered the call of Isobell Campbell (ex-Belle and Sebastian) and a partnership that looked laughable on paper developed into one that's been revered both on record and on stage.

Take Komedia last Wednesday. Sold-out signs, a buzz of anticipation and much chatter between fans of two artists as diverse & eclectic as that of a cross-faith meeting on the West Bank.

"Mark and I were interviewed together recently, in anticipation of the Mercury Awards, and he was asked what drew him to collaborate with me," remembers Isobel Campbell, of Lanegan, "He said that there's a darkness to my songs that he loves. The music I love has always had to have an 'edge'. If something's slick and bland, I'm not interested."


There's no introduction, little interaction and barely a smile raised .. yet, from opener 'Revolver' (Lanegan's sole project solo credit) & through the rest of the seventy-minute set, the respect afforded to the pair was bordering on reverential.

Campbell may present herself with an awkward disposition that belies her three album past and one-time band-member status with deftly-melodic Glaswegian indie collective Belle & Sebastian .. but make no mistake, she's as focused and driven as the best of them.

Langegan, on the other hand, stands with hands grasping the mic-stand, eyes wide-shut, and seemingly wishing there didn't have to be any gaps between songs.

He acknowledges Campbell just the once .. a smile radiates between the two and the ambience is pricked and we are briefly allowed inside their bubble.

"It's been lovely, who wouldn't want to be recognised for what they do?" she says, of the reception "Ballad Of The Broken Seas' has enjoyed. "But it's not ever been my reason for doing the things I do. I just want to keep making the music that I want... If I ever want to do a death metal record, something with people screaming all over it, I will do!"


Lanegan briefly left the stage early in the set to allow Campbell two solo numbers, as well as a haunting instrumental courtesy of guitarist Jim McCulloch (Soup Dragons, Green Peppers).

Most of "Ballad Of The Broken Seas' was mined. Highlights being "(Do You Wanna) Come Walk With Me?', "Saturday's Gone', "The Circus Is Leaving Town' and much anticipated encore "Ramblin' Man'.

No goodbyes .. they left as they had entered .. an enigma born of a brilliant spark of an idea.

Miss Jekyll and Mr Hyde may have left the building, but the night, the songs and the memory will linger forever more.


Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan's "Ballad Of The Broken Seas' is out now and available from all major outlets.

For more info on Komedia shows visit www.komedia.co.uk/brighton


by: Mike Cobley




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