Milk White Sheets
Milk White Sheets is good music for long mornings sitting in bed watching snow fall. First listening to this album in the evening after a day of work, I had a difficult time relating to the quiet hum that this album resonates. Even with the volume turned high, the unfamiliar lyrics were difficult to decipher while strains of cello, glockenspiel, dulcimer and guitar strings sounded haunting in the dark of the night. However, the next morning began with Milk White Sheets and the dreamy sounds of Isobel’s crystalline voice merged with the diverse span of instruments to surround the day with a quiet microcosm of comfort.
When mixed under the deft hand of Campbell, the resultant soundings on this album are melodious and gentle; they remind me of a cross between nursery rhymes, Gaelic or Celtic traditionals, and pirate shanties sung at bedtime. Primarily, the album contains original compositions with approximately six traditional songs re-arranged by Campbell and two songs written by friends. There is a charming 48-second hidden track called “Bird in the Wood” where listeners are given a chiming bell echo that seems to sing the delicacy of life in its simplicity.
This is considered Campbell’s second solo release although it was, in fact, recorded prior to her collaboration album with Mark Lanegan, Ballad of the Broken Seas. Folks who enjoyed the sweeping emotion of that recording will likely find pleasure in the gorgeous melodies of this extraordinary new release, Milk White Sheets. There is surely a place for Isobel Campbell in the heads of listeners who enjoy the likes of Nick Cave, Cat Power or Devendra Banhart. And anyone who is looking for some introspective morning musings would be pleased to start their day with this beautifully haunting folk album.