I became a fan of Julie Campbell from the collaboration she did with Jah Wobble and Keith Levine, Psychic Life, in 2011. A magnificent work that, despite excellent reviews, just kind of disappeared without further mention. I sought out Campbell's LoneLady album, Nerve Up (2010), and was really impressed with her 21st century evocation of early 80's post punk. Julie keeps a very low profile, but eventually I saw that her new album, Hinterland, was released, and I jumped on that immediately.
Hinterland is simply amazing. Campbell has a stunning feel for rhythm. Credit is given to Andrew Cheetham for "drums," but Julie is listed as playing about a half dozen vintage drum machines and pads, and what is evident from the outset is that her programming of those drum machines is what gives the album a lot of its personality. She plays guitar too, and the interplay of the machines and her snappy guitar playing is full of tight, twitchy, nervous energy. That energy is invigorating, fascinating, and full of surprises, coming at you from the right and left, at unexpected moments between the beats. Then, there's the LoneLady voice, gentle yet anguished, subtle but not without an edge, both reflective and urgent.
Julie has immense skill as a composer and a remarkable vision as an artist. I'm willing to follow her wherever her imagination takes her.