"Certain as the sun/ Rising in the East/ Tale as old as time/ Song as old as rhyme/ Beauty and the beast"
—Howard Ashman, Beauty & The Beast (1991)
Yes, on paper, this is quite a noted mismatch. To think that the pastoral, lullaby swoon of Belle & Sebastian's Belle coupled with the grizzled growl of sometimes-QOTSA/Screaming-Trees-collaborator Mark Lanegan would result in a metaphorical high-five-of-an-album seems like a joke you'd see in Spin... well, before they were bought out by the founder of Blender and downsized everyone who had heard of either Isobel or Mark. But no, in this very dimension of ours, Mark's gruff delivery and penchant for sparse, Tarantino-appreciated Americana is set alight by Isobel's unwavering, optimistic elegance, which appears to infect Lanegan by the time "Honey Child What Can I Do" kicks in. While always carrying some facet of ethereal beauty, often in the form of tasteful strings, each track nevertheless conveys an element of Old West isolation. So, despite the modern production quality, the overall feel of Ballad Of The Broken Seas is unerringly timeless. You can tell that Mark was thinking deep about the man in black, Johnny Cash, during the creative process here. Undoubtedly, the man is done proud by this. Ramble on, cowboy.
1. Deus Ibi Est
2. Black Mountain
3. The False Husband
4. Ballad Of The Broken Seas
6. Ramblin' Man
7. (Do You Wanna) Come Walk With Me?
8. Saturday's Gone
9. It's Hard To Kill A Bad Thing
10. Honey Child What Can I Do?
11. Dusty Wreath
12. The Circus Is Leaving Town