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Isobel Campbell

There Is No Other… (Cooking Vinyl)

By • Feb 16th, 2020 • Category: Album review

If it seems like a long time since we last heard from Isobel Campbell… well, it has been.
In fact, the last album she made was her third and final album in collaboration with Mark Lanegan, ‘Hawk’, in 2010. Since then, she’s moved to the US, got married and been through a lot of legal troubles to get this record out.

Yes, she was a member of Belle & Sebastian, but she left that band nearly twenty years ago, and this album has a similar feel to her pre-Lanegan albums, ‘Milkwhite Sheets’ and ‘Amorino’. The opener and third tracks on this album ‘City Of Angels’ and ‘Vultures’ are gorgeous, pastoral folk tunes – yet the second track is a electro (well, very gently so) reworking of Tom Petty’s ‘Running Down A Dream.’ Like the majority of good cover versions, it completely reworks the original, and the removal of the guitars doesn’t seem to matter.

If there’s an overall theme to the record, it’s that of a singer-songwriter who’s still connected to her Glaswegian indie-pop roots, yet is embracing life on the American West Coast. So it’s probably the most psychedelic thing she’s done – but gently so: this is a record you can play when elderly relatives are around. In a way that certain psychedelic records try to freak you out that you think you might have ingested something, this hasn’t.

In fact, for other get-togethers – I’m thinking campfires with friends – kudos to those who learn to play ‘The Heart Of It All’ by the time the summer comes around.

Forget previous bands and collaborations, this is a record that deserves to be taken at face value and could be played in many different environments. It’s none the worse for that.

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