Hawk isn't as startling [as Ballad of the Broken Seas], but it's encouraging to know that the magic between Campbell and Lanegan not only hasn't worn off, it's manifesting itself in new and compelling ways.
At times it feels like this music will rise above simple pleasure, to something more fearsome or fearless, something unquantifiable and haunted--for now, however, the dichotomy between male and female will have to do.
While their first two collaborative efforts were largely slow, quiet affairs, their new album Hawk is more dynamic, featuring both whispered ballads and dusty, boot-stomping rockers, and not always for the best.
The pleasure of Campbell flitting like a will-o'-the-wisp in the cracks between Lanegan's fierce, parched growls is predictable now. Hawk impresses instead with its signs of Campbell's increased confidence as songwriter, arranger and producer.
Five of the songs don't feature Lanegan's vocals, and when Willy Mason shows up to sing two of them, it's a wonder why Hawk wasn't more truthfully labeled as "Isobel Campbell & Friends." Thematically deficient throughout, this is an outtakes release at best.