What Laurie Cameron presents in Something In Us Never Dies, based on the work of Robert Burns, is certainly not your grandfather’s stuffy Burns Supper interpretation. Instead it is atmospheric. Eerie. Mournful. Soulful. Passionate. It floats so easily in tone and feeling, shadowing the words of Burns and teasing them into the 21st century.
There is a clear love for the work of Burns. Cameron chooses select moments from his immense back catalogue. There are no Tam O’Shanters or Red Red Roses here, but instead music that doesn’t require a degree in Scottish Poetical Studies. There is no fear of missing something. This isn’t Shakespeare, unreadable without the required homework. Instead it’s just a nice, synth driven album by a wonderful vocalist.
Echoing drums. Plinking keys. Ghostly backing vocals. The album is a soundscape dancing around the words of Burns. At times the music is front and centre, at times the lyrics. They swirl and compliment each other without ever upstaging.
At times the music floats way into the ethereal dreamy synth hinterland. In a similar vein to The War On Drugs it becomes so sleepy and pleasant it is very easy to forget there is even music there to listen to.
Suddenly a track such as Bottle And A Friend arrives! A tuneful shot in the arm balancing up the album nicely with a tempo boost.
Cameron’s natural performance of the words give it a humbling power. These aren’t the words of some immortal master, only appreciated fully by academics. But words. Nice words. Really nice words in nice combinations that ring in the ears of any listener.
Not only does this album succeed in dusting off of Scotland’s bard, it is a wonderful showcase of electronic music at its most passionate and its most melancholic. For every shade of Burns there is an equally brilliant shade of Cameron.
It is a credit to the versatility of Burns; having him on a platform that isn’t the Visit Scotland tourist board nor an English teacher’s dusty bookcase is wonderful. But more so it is a credit to Laurie Cameron, putting herself on a pedestal with Scotland’s national bard and remaining an equal. It’s unlikely Robert Burns will be releasing any new material but hopefully there won’t be too much of a wait for Cameron’s.