CD review: Young songwriter left Superior's shores to make waves on East Coast
Corrin Campbell is a swashbuckling young songwriter with roots in Duluth and Superior who is now making waves on the East Coast. Her brand-new debut release, "Game Night," with her band the Election, demonstrates the now Baltimore-based Campbell'...
Corrin Campbell is a swashbuckling young songwriter with roots in Duluth and Superior who is now making waves on the East Coast.
Her brand-new debut release, "Game Night," with her band the Election, demonstrates the now Baltimore-based Campbell's vocal and writing skills with a maturity well beyond her years. It rocks, but the best parts of the project are the songs into which Campbell has clearly put her heart as a way of turning angst into art.
"Remember Me" has a nice tight little groove with fiery drumming by Tony Corbett (who also plays guitar throughout the disc) and exotic bass figures from Campbell. The text exhorts her little brother, whom she is about to leave, to "write my name in the sand, but the tide is rolling in; don't forget me, I know you can."
"Colors of You" has Campbell, who seems to have hard-wired mechanisms for initiating cool grooves, starting the track on bass and piano. But all too soon her cool groove is buried under a toxic backwash of guitar in a song of emptiness from a love lost.
The mix on many of the tracks on "Game Night" sound as if they were done by the guitar player, resulting in Campbell sounding like the back-up singer to a shred-head. Campbell's voice, her lyrics and her personality could come through ten-fold if the sonic mélange were simplified and scaled down.
"Bounce" has a circumspect Liz Phair-feel with nice piano lines in a story of responsibility and choices and growing up. When Corbett concentrates on drumming, the tunes seem to breathe, take off and soar.
Campbell, at the acoustic piano on "A New Page," brings Tori Amos to mind as she recalls some clandestine affair that alternates between brooding and intemperate ruminations.
The aural canvas covered on "Game Night" includes "Blink of an Eye" with its insistent punky feel; "Keep Movin' " sounding like '80s Pat Benatar with Neil Geraldo; "Cast It Off" relaxed and with a definite Alanis Morrisette vibe.
It's a good first disc, with songs that will reach out and grab you by the ears if you give it a chance. Campbell, who lived in Duluth and Superior during her formative years, is a member of the active-duty Army stationed at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds with the 389th in the Baltimore area.
She comes back to her Northland roots with two shows in the coming days, and recalls her area beginnings in the liner notes with: "I want to give a shout-out to my hometown of Superior, WI, 'souptown.' Thanks for always giving me a place to come home to when Baltimore gets too crazy. I dream of returning to the freezing shores of Lake Superior. Ha."