24 October 2006

Isobel Campbell: Milkwhite Sheets

As if there were any doubt, Isobel Campbell gets credit in the very first few sentences of her interview with Scotland's Sunday Times:

Isobel Campbell bridles a little when it’s put to her she may well be the forces’ sweetheart of indie, a Dame Vera Lynn for sensitive young men who like their music lovelorn, thoughtful and laden with chiming guitars. . . .
“No, really?” she ponders in the bar of a hotel in her native west end of Glasgow. “That’s quite patronising, though, isn’t it? It’s like the record sleeve is the thing that really matters, which is rubbish as far as I’m concerned. I put in the slog to be a worthwhile musician. I’m not a show pony.”

But quarreling with heart-throb status is a tricky thing. It's like F. Scott Fitzgerald snarling at every mention of The Great Gatsby--it's all very well to resent its shadow, but where would the artist be without that shadow? Not a question I have an answer to (to which I have an answer).

I'm curious about Milkwhite Sheets (out 6 Nov): how will Campbell fare without Lanegan's gravelly drag or Belle & Sebastian's twee space pop vibe? I'm thinking she might be like Iron & Wine--a technically accomplished artist that somehow needs depth, darkness, or spark from a collaboration to be really excellent.

Isobel Campbell - Cachel Wood from Milkwhite Sheets
Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Saturday's Gone from Ballad of the Broken Seas

Stream both (M3U)

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