Lomond Campbell hails from the Scottish Borders, ached for Aberdeen and, for many years, was lodged as a lamppost in Leith, Edina. More recently (to you & I), he tore himself out of the city, uprooted, left Auld Reekie’s ancient urban burst behind (carrying a sack of sun shaft and shadow) and set forth fur the Highlands. Here he found a derelict, wheezing school, on the skirt of a stunning Loch, with Ben Nevis brooding overhead like a bull seal ready to brawl. Do you picture that? Try harder please, strain like skies do until you see birds there and fish puckered lipped below – so still and serene but not really silent at all. This school became THE recording studio, the cauldron from which Black River Promise bubbled up and was brewed.
Black River Promise’s musical landscape is as charmingly disparate as Campbell’s own geographical movements, winks and burdensome talents. From white noise to near silence, these songs will take you The Lengths, a testimony of which is made in a track of that very title (covered and performed regularly by Campbell’s comrade and sparring partner King Creosote). The grit and staggering melancholy in Campbell’s voice reaches a crescendo (pour moi) in Hurl Them Further, whilst wily traces of his international escapades unfurl, bittersweet, from within Brutes in Life – this hedgehog opens like an old boot untied, spikes inawl.
Campbell’s well-kent aptitude for lyrical lustre and churning out complex, yet perfectly dirty, pop enters new realms with Black River Promise. Two instrumental tracks recorded live in a five hunner year old castle wi a 10-piece string ensemble whisper, wail then wander out into the ether around you. These gargantuan and gossamer sounds – harvested by cellist and arranger Pete Harvey – dance daintily in their Fallen Stag; whilst you’re best advised to run and hide from the growl in their undulating Acharacle.
Lomond Campbell, inter alia, is a BAFTA winning songwriter and Scottish Album of the Year Award shortlister – with regular plays on many BBC networks. His cult FOUND collective cooked-up chocolate vinyl, built egoic ruminative robots and experimented with sound, light, olfactory and sensory triggers so as these songs might now pulse into mellifluous perfumes. His voracious musical appetite and genre-bursting abilities are regularly on display on this record, in his collaborations and within his programming of Triassic Tusk – a record label he co-founded with Whisky Guru & DJ Stephen Marshall.
Lomond Campbell has a thing for the noise; is a wet cigarette relit and plump tyres crackling to a halt on busy gravel to deliver the message you’ve been waiting for – you were always the only one. Old scarred hands have never been so light and bright, of love and loss! Let’s jump in the deep end and cheapen it ALL? The sun that rises in these songs and furnishes the landscape with filigree nets, for miles and years, is the same sun that burns you when if fall asleep drunk.
Black River Promise brings all the complexity of faith.
Michael Pedersen, Poet / Neu! Reekie! / Fan