Since the success of 2006’s Mercury nominated Ballad of the Broken Seas we have had a Frankenstein’s monster of a musical combo on our hands; one part gruff voiced Screaming Trees troubadour Mark Lanegan who writes songs in the great outlaw country tradition of Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt, the other a treacle-throated Glaswegian defector of Belle and Sebastian Isobel Campbell. An unlikely matching by anyone’s standards, but one which has been pumping out great records over the last two years with a regularity that you could set a clock by.
Latest offering, Keep Me in Mind Sweetheart is characteristically excellent. The title track is an elegant and rather romantic ballad that has fuelled rumours that the connection between the two singers is somewhat more than just a musical one. Asleep on a Sixpence ushers in the festive feel, starting with a mid-tempo Shane MacGowan style melody before transforming sweetly into ‘While Shepherds Watched’. And there is no deadweight on the rest of this six track ep; from the muscular violin work of Tango #1 to the ragged harmonies of Rambling Rose, Clinging Vine the standards remains high, making this a particularly good value stocking filler.
Detractors may argue that IC and ML are a one trick pony of a combo, but as long as they are making music as good as this, I couldn’t care less.
Words: Olly Brown