Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Keep Me In Mind Sweetheart (V2)

Sam Duke | Thursday, 27 November 2008

Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Keep Me In Mind Sweetheart (V2)

Following on from the almost universal acclaim that greeted their last full-length album, Sunday at Devil Dirt, Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan return with a short EP of extra material to coincide with their current UK tour.

Keep Me in Mind Sweetheart is a brief experience consisting of six tracks running to just over 21 minutes in length; it continues the heartbreak Americana formula that has proved so successful on the duo’s previous two releases

The EP starts with the title track, a slow waltz sung by Lanegan with minimal guitar backing. As with several of the songs on the EP it would have worked better as a duet and is a little bland in this simple form. The following two tracks are also Lanegan dominated. 'Fight Fire With Fire' sounds like Dylan in his most recent incarnation, while 'Asleep On A Sixpence', with its melancholic nursery rhyme feel, draws heavily from Tom Waits - even down to Lanegan’s delivery.

This is followed by 'Violin Tango', a fairly meaningless instrumental which is as unimaginative as its title. And 'Rambling Rose', which surprisingly is the only pure duet on the release. Unfortunately, the duo’s vocal chemistry which is usually so crackling is notably absent and both sound rather tired and flat as they trudge through the song’s clunky botanical metaphors.

The EP concludes with ;Hang On' which is the only track where Campbell takes up the lead vocal. Over a predictable rhythm & blues lick she tells the uninspiring story of a down-beaten husband, including the truly awful line: "Working hard for the man, Mrs man doesn’t understand". A suitably limp ending for a largely limp record.

The release of an EP often tells its own story: extra material that is aimed squarely at the fans and not many others. None of the tracks on Keep Me In Mind Sweetheart are likely to linger in your ears for long, and unless you're a disciple you will find it largely uninspiring.

Rating: 3/5