Isobel Campbell

Milkwhite Sheets (V2)

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>0/5

Call it innocence by lack of association. Isobel Campbell is rarely spoken of in connection with the new-folk scene, in spite of the consonant, haunting sound of her recent work (and perhaps because she once was a member of indie stars Belle & Sebastian). No matter—this affectingly low-key album, a big improvement on her stiff duet record with Mark Lanegan from earlier this year, is full of small but glorious surprises.

Campbell’s light, airy vocals convey her admiration for the outsider-folk legend Anne Briggs (who’s listed in the liner notes as an inspiration). Equally striking, though, are a pair of gorgeous, masterfully arranged instrumentals: “James,” whose sweetly melancholic strings and hand percussion make you wonder when Nick Drake’s voice will come in, and “Over the Wheat and the Barley,” which dramatically transports the weeping sound of Australia’s Dirty Three to the Scottish cliffs. — Mike Wolf