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My Maudlin Career

Camera Obscura

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Camera Obscura perform a retro-twee pop that skirts between ‘60s girl-group homage and the skittering rhythms of fellow Scotsmen Belle and Sebastian, always with a sense of melancholy nagging our protagonist. Singer Tracyanne Campbell’s heart is always being broken and even when it’s not, her psyche is thrown off kilter by its manic swoon. The ensemble specializes in a blurry film noir where the sun breaks through the clouds just long enough to remind you that a storm is always brewing. “You Told a Lie” slows to reverb-ed strings and a dream-laced melody that channels the works of Lee Hazlewood and Serge Gainsbourg. “French Navy” captures the group at their most ebullient. “James” is a tour de force ballad brilliantly capturing the sorrow of a busted but somehow unrequited relationship. “Swans” swings with an optimistic Byrdsian folk-rock jangle amongst the reverb. The title track builds a Phil Spectorian wall of sound. “Other Towns and Cities” sounds as if someone threw Campbell down a deep dark well, which is where her emotions lead her anyway.

Biography

Formed: 1996 in Glasgow, Scotland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The Scottish ensemble Camera Obscura formed in 1996, when vocalist Tracyanne Campbell, percussionist John Henderson, bassist Gavin Dunbar, and guitarist David Skirving began creating lush indie pop with orchestral flourishes and romantic lyrics. They went on to release a number of singles, one of which included contributions from Belle & Sebastian's Richard Colburn, whose band served as a stylistic touchstone for the young Camera Obscura. Three years after the band's first releases, Lee Thompson...
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My Maudlin Career, Camera Obscura
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