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REVIEW: ISOBEL CAMPBELL & MARK LANEGAN

PUBLISHED: 13:27 29 September 2010 | UPDATED: 11:13 14 October 2010

LONDON - SEPTEMBER 05:  Isobel Campbell arrives at the Nationwide Mercury Prize at the Grosvenor House Hotel on September 5, 2006 in London, England.  (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

LONDON - SEPTEMBER 05: Isobel Campbell arrives at the Nationwide Mercury Prize at the Grosvenor House Hotel on September 5, 2006 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

2006 Getty Images

WITH third album Hawk garnering rave reviews and hailed as their best yet, this enigmatic side project for the Scottish-American duo has become a force to be reckoned with. Their oeuvre of t

ISOBEL CAMPBELL & MARK LANEGAN Barbican, Silk Street, EC2

WITH third album Hawk garnering rave reviews and hailed as their best yet, this enigmatic side project for the Scottish-American duo has become a force to be reckoned with.

Their oeuvre of tantalisingly ominous blues, evocative folk and lo-fi rock has been carefully honed, complemented by the ying/yang of Campbell's soft lilt and Lanegan's portentous boom.

The unsettlingly calm opener We Die And See Beauty Reign, the lead track from Hawk, set the tone - the awkward-looking Lanegan a distant figure, standing alone and aloof, several metres from the warm, affecting Campbell (pictured).

They barely exchanged a glance thoughout the show and it was left to Campbell to share anecdotes and quips in the cavernous main hall.

But her quivering cello and a piercing piano motif on the sparse, shadowy Come Undone made for the first of several hairs-on-the-back-of-the-neck moments, cloaking the stage in dark atmospherics. Beautiful arrangements took in dusty Americana, jangly rock and wistful folk, while doleful support act Willy Mason, who guests on Hawk, replaced Lanegan for a refreshing mid-set change including the romantic duet No Place To Fall.

Professional and entrancing without doubt, it wasn't until the opening lines of Come On Over (Turn Me On) that the chemistry really started to crackle and fizz.

With a varied setlist from bleak to whimsical to soulful and back again, accomplished songwriting and evocative lyrics, Campbell and Lanegan are a force to be reckoned with.

- STEPHEN MOORE


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