Hearing the first Rogues Gallery six years ago was like discovering a portal into a new world, as the likes of Richard Thompson, Bryan Ferry and Nick Cave raised more pirate ghosts than Jack Sparrow’s Black Pearl. Whether fittingly raucous or hauntingly restrained, almost everything within was a beguiling listen. This follow-up once again digs for treasure, but comes up with as much fool’s gold as it does dubloons.
Really, it just suffers from sequel syndrome, as there’s a fine single-disc collection buried within some over-blown, try-hard choices. It’s no surprise that Tom Waits and Keith Richards capture spirits in a bottle on Shenandoah, but The Americans’ Sweet And Low makes you wish Ryan Adams might have contributed something instead. Dr John, however, strikes gold with In Lure Of The Tropics; no stranger to spooky shit, he manages to sound like a disembodied skull’s just rolled on over to cut you a deal.
Delving into Zappa’s back catalogue for Handsome Cabin Boy breaks the mood completely, though, while Katey Red, Big Freedia and Akron/Family put a hip-hop spin on the chantey’s call-and- response for Sally Racket (Sissy Bounce), but the results fail to live up to the astuteness of the idea. Of the more leftfield pairings, Iggy Pop and A Hawk And A Hacksaw’s Asshole Rules The Navy is a witty highlight, while Macy Gray’s reggae-tinged on Off To The Sea Once More provides some Caribbean flavour.