Ballad Of The Broken Seas - Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. [Has] the unmistakable feel of an instant classic. [28 Jan 2006, p.34]
  2. Lanegan's smoky voice suits these songs perfectly, and when combined with Campbell's angelic whisper and lush but not overdone orchestration, the result is a sound that is naturally mysterious and utterly affecting. [#12, p.89]
  3. They have formed the most remarkable of pairings, crafting an album of such beauty that past reference is made redundant.
  4. Ballad of the Broken Seas is mysterious and theatrical and totally cool.
  5. This is proof that Campbell made the right decision in leaving Belle And Sebastian.
  6. The music is as fine as the pairing is strange.
  7. That’s why there’s no cacophony and very little white noise: the finished product is essentially of a common mind.
  8. 82
    The two come together to create something more than an album of contrasts. [#19, p.95]
  9. Any fears of a dangerous liaison are soon sent packing as opener ‘Deus Ibi Est’ thud-thuds its way to attention.
  10. '...Broken Seas', though understated and pretty, tingles with furtive sexual chemistry.
  11. 80
    A gentle triumph. [Jan 2006, p.130]
  12. 80
    Recalls Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra in the way it mingles dark and light, hard and soft, innocence and experience. [Feb 2006, p.80]
  13. Ballad of the Broken Seas is a superbly crafted bit of late-night introspection that brings out the best in both Lanegan and Campbell.
  14. Together, they’re a marriage made in musical haven.
  15. While "Ballad of the Broken Seas" is a fine set of folk-tinged and blues-rooted art-pop, with ballads of haunted beauty in the mold of Cave and Cohen and some frisky, up-tempo diversions, ethereal Scottish chanteuse Campbell and whiskey-voiced Seattle refugee Lanegan remain disappointingly disconnected from each other. [5 Mar 2006]
  16. 75
    The skeletal guitars, stylized strings, and rhythmic clatter are enough of a flashlight under the chin to spook up these campfire tales. [Mar 2006, p.95]
  17. While Campbell's contributions to the album are far from negligible, the thing reeks of Lanegan, aligning itself with the hard-bitten American roots music of his solo albums.
  18. So while this isn't "The Desert Sessions" - sadly, Isobel Campbell is no Polly Harvey - "Ballad Of The Broken Seas" remains an engaging curio whilst we wait to see what both artists do next.
  19. Despite the modern production quality, the overall feel of Ballad Of The Broken Seas is unerringly timeless.
  20. Play[s] the kitsch-folk game with real panache. [Feb 2006, p.101]
  21. A match-up like this one needs the right balance between angel and devil, and... Campbell's fragile alto is just no match for Lanegan. [May 2006, p.162]
  22. There's a creepy chemistry between them.
  23. In the end, there is nothing too paradigm-shifting to be found here, just a nice genre pastiche from two unique talents who won’t disappoint their fans.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 15 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. EdwardF
    Dec 20, 2006
    Beautiful. Anyone looking for Mark Lanegan's predictably heart-wrenching, tobaco stained blues will not be disappointed. Also, it finds it's way into the hearts of people looking for classic "miss-match" duet, with Campbels ethereal, often haunting vocals floating mostly in the background to Lanegan's whiskey flavoured growl creating the perfect counter-points for the two artists to work. The album lulls it's lister into a deep slumber with images of the duo sitting in the haze of a smoking pub, still wondering how this unshaven, time-warn grunge rocker from Seattle managed to stumble upon the seemingly untainted, sweet Glaswegian folk singer. But regardless of how it happened I am very happy they did, because what we see is two artists suited so well for each other artisticly and I hope to see further work from them. Full Review »
  2. time
    Aug 10, 2006
    Very dark and sexy!
  3. MihalisK
    Mar 13, 2006
    Good mixture of the deep voice of M.Lanegan and the ethereal one of Isobel C. Best song the "Black Mountain". Unfortunetaly after the excelent first three songs i can't find another equally good song. Full Review »