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Album Review

Former Belle & Sebastian member Isobel Campbell's first album under her own name is very similar to the two albums she recorded as the Gentle Waves. The same autumnal melancholy pervades the songs, the same delicate beauty exists in the arrangements, the same tender emotions are on display lyrically, and Campbell's voice is still a fragile wisp barely able to stay afloat above the sad sawing of the strings. What has changed is the scale of the record: it is really quite grand, with a seeming cast of thousands helping to make the record achingly lush and romantic. The entire disc is flooded with cinematic strings, giving it the feel of a pastoral epic, much like Nick Drake if he were happy or Donovan if he were less happy. Very British and very good. The arrangements are always inventive and dramatic, and it sounds like she also has been listening to some jazz records, because many of the songs have a swinging continental jazz feeling with lots of groovy piano work and bubbling standup bass. Tracks like "Song for Baby" and "October's Sky" are for all intents and purposes straight-up chamber jazz. Good and inventive chamber jazz, even. Campbell also throws in a few surprises, like the wacky Dixieland of "The Cat's Pyjamas" and the Getz/Gilberto-sampling "The Breeze Whispered Your Name." At its best, on songs like "Monologue for an Old True Love" or the Nancy & Lee-styled orchestral country duet with Eugene Kelly, listening to Amorino provides nearly as many musical thrills as listening to a good B&S record. It definitely makes her decision to leave Belle & Sebastian less painful, as now the Belle & Sebastian-loving throng has something to play when it has worn out Dear Catastrophe Waitress.

Customer Reviews


Fans of Isobel Campbell's work with Belle & Sebastian will love this album. The people who feel that her best work lies in reinterpreting, as well as inventing, folk standards will be a bit disappointed in this album, however. One of the strong points of the album lies in it's diversity, from baroque-pop to lounge-y salsa to deeply affecting instrumentals. There's even a New Orleans swing-jazz song! The closing number seems to be a foreshadowing of the direction that she'd later undertake on 'Ballad of the Broken Seas." For my own taste, I could do without the lounge-y salsa, which is a style I've never much cared for, even by Beck. Still, this is a worthwhile investment, as even her relative failures are better than most people's best efforts.

Hypnotic and Wonderful

Isobel Campbell's voice is like a welcome breeze on a hot, still day. Long and short: I LOVE this album for its ability to take me out of whatever hell-hole I find myself in and to transport me to a better place. Way more effective than prescription medication. Cheaper, too.

love it!!!

amorino is my favorite, love the horn part.....


Born: April 27, 1976 in Glasgow, Scotland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

After vaulting to fame as a founding member of the beloved indie pop collective Belle & Sebastian, Isobel Campbell enjoyed success as a solo artist, recording lush and elegiac chamber pop under her given name, under the moniker the Gentle Waves, and with longstanding duet partner Mark Lanegan. Born April 27, 1976, in Glasgow, Scotland, Campbell studied classical cello as an adolescent. At the age of 19, she met aspiring singer/songwriter Stuart Murdoch at a New Year's party, and although their romance...
Full Bio
Amorino, Isobel Campbell
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Customer Ratings