The return of Isobel Campbell
The Scottish singer and former member of Belle & Sebastian returns with a long-awaited solo project, at times reminiscent of 1960s California...
A former member of pop craftsmen Belle and Sebastian and an occasional collaborator of Mark Lanegan’s (Ballad of the Broken Seas in 2006, Sunday at Devil Dirt in 2008 and Hawk in 2010, all in the vein of Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazlewood), Isobel Campbell has also kept time for a solo career, in her name or under the alias of The Gentle Waves.
Recorded in 2014, There Is No Other… stayed under wraps for six long years for unclear contractual reasons. It’s also the first real album that the Scot has produced in fourteen years. And what an album! Above all else, Isobel Campbell has always been ONE voice: a gem of rare purity that she never freely over-exploits.
She uses her talent to create a folky pop, reminiscent of the 1970s Californian scene in Laurel Canyon (Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Mamas & The Papas, David Crosby) like on songs The National Bird of India and the dreamlike City of Angels which transport you straight to an Indian summer. Understandable seeing as the Glaswegian lived for several years in the City of Angels.
The British folk revival from the end of the 1960s (Pentangle, Fairport Convention) seems also to have had an impact on her, but the real force of There Is No Other… is its ability to pool all these eras and particular musical styles in order to create her very own sensual and cinematographic soundtrack, sculpted by a vibraphone here, some strings there and a baritone guitar elsewhere. Bittersweet and certainly magnificent.