Former Belle and Sebastian chanteuse Isobel Campbell and ex-Screaming Trees wailer Mark Lanegan call to mind Marianne Faithfull and Mick Jagger or Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra. She’s a breathy naïf, he’s a grizzled rocker, but they create beautiful textural blends. Their third effort together takes on the good ole ‘Merican road trip. Together the delightfully-femme Campbell and the gravel-throated Lanegan trip through blues, country, rockabilly, and even take a stab at John Denver easy-listening. While some of the songs are excellent, Hawk’s peculiar need to encompass all of Americana smacks of contrivance. It doesn’t help that on the quieter tunes, Campbell sounds as if she’s delivering lyrics deep from her REM sleep cycle. Granted, that sleepy-singing is sort of her thing, but it thrives with instrumental balance, like that provided on the roadhouse-rock jam “Get Behind Me” and alt-country closer “You Won’t Let Me Down Again.” On Campbell and Lanegan’s collaborative career trip, Hawk is more roadside attraction than final destination.
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