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Camera Obscura My Maudlin Career Review

Album. Released 2009.  

BBC Review

The Glaswegian indie pop band grow more epic with their fourth long-awaited album.

Keira Burgess 2009

Back and newly championed by an independent heavyweight, Camera Obscura become not maudlin, but a little more mellow on their fourth album.

The Glaswegian outfit's loyal fanbase have had a three year wait for this project; three years in which they put in a considerable effort satisfying the live yearnings of their dominating worldwide faithful. Quite why the overseas audience have always got Camera Obscura, while their native music fan needed 'retro pop' waved in their faces via the dubious tabloid outings of beehived and sailor-suited divas is a mystery. Thankfully, respected label 4AD have gone some way to making up for British apathy by signing up the band for the release of My Maudlin Career.

Jari Haapalainen is back for his second outing with the band, building on the dense production introduced on their third album Let's Get Out Of This Country. Moving further away from jaunty folk pop and embracing lush balladry, this collection sounds more Mazzy Star than The Concretes, doused with the expected references to the middle decades of the last century. Single French Navy is 60s pop with strings, and a vocal echo that lends itself so well to Tracyanne Campbell's voice, sending it ethereal.

The overall tone is more reflective than on every other Camera Obscura project, and perhaps too maudlin around You Told A Lie and Away With Murder. The following Swans, with a great opening hook and nursery rhyme feel is more typical of the feelgood If Looks Could Kill. Their dance-along, big beat specialities have always been where Camera Obscura flourish, and they wrap up with the album's other stonker Honey In The Sun.

With each album, Camera Obscura offer just enough tangible difference, without compromising their cuteness or charm. From this example, the potential presents itself for a total evolution - away from country, folk, retro and pop and toward epic soundscape. The possibilities are endless and exciting.

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