Isobel Campbell
Milkwhite Sheets
Before venturing out with Mark Lanegan on the great country ballad-infused Ballad of the Broken Seas, Campbell laid down this superior disc. As with all the records she has made since leaving Belle and Sebastian, Campbell employs a new genre that will take everyone by surprise. Milkwhite Sheets is a British folk record, plain and simple. No gimmicks or overproduction like the flashy jazz arrangements of her debut, just stirring and breathtaking folk. Fans of Fairport Convention, Pentangle, Richard and Linda Thompson, and Bert Jansch will be in heaven. Rounded out by her soothing and fragile vocals, her arrangements are exquisite even when she pulls out old warhorses like “Reynardine.” One of the reasons this record works so well is that up against traditional songs Campbell’s own compositions hold their own—she’s able to recreate the British folk idiom without betraying the soul of the music. A notable mention along side the traditional numbers and her own work is a peculiar cover of Paul Giovanni’s “Willow’s Song” taken from the original Wicker Man. A beautiful and haunting track that Campbell makes sound innocent, which is quite bizarre considering the circumstances of the scenes it scored in the film. Milkwhite Sheets is not suited for all musical tastes, but it is an absolutely brilliant and beautiful work.
—Trevor MacLaren
categories: Coast pick

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