Monday, January 4, 2010

Review: My Maudlin Career by Camera Obscura

It's sort of ridiculous how much I've come to like Camera Obscura. Whenever my mood is more mellow their music hits the right spot. So while their latest album 'My Maudlin Career' came out this past April, being in the mood I thought I would write up a review.

My Maudlin CareerLike on their earlier albums, 'My Maudlin Career' is a blend of 60's and 70's pop with a modern writing style that infuses horns, violins, and catchy guitar hooks with a Scottish sensibility that will leave you humming their tunes for days. Traceyanne Campbell's vocals are a slightly sweet wavering that melts into the music like wax pooling at the base of a candle. The combination is like tripping on nostalgia.

The first single released and the first song on the album, 'French Navy' is a warm greeting to fans of earlier albums. The melancholic orchestra mixing with almost Beach Boys-ish riffs is an inviting start to the album.

This is followed up by the broken hearted 'The Sweetest thing,' which while musically progressing from the next song, lyrically shows itself to be more contemporary:

"On the bus radio, 'Fifty ways to leave your lover alone' 
I laughed at the irony 
But life is stupid, the irony all lost on me "  

In 'Away With Murder' there is almost an old country music feel to it. Quiet and sad, it feels almost like tears rolling down the mind. 

The middle of the album is the weakest, featuring three songs in a row that seem to drag. With 'Swans' 'James' and 'Careless Love' all the elements are there, but while technically strong, feel dismally uninspired. Thankfully they're quickly forgotten with the brilliant title track 'My Maudlin Career' a song about trying to reclaim yourself from unrequited love.

The album comes to close with the crashing horns of 'Honey in the Sun.' For those familiar with their song 'Lloyd, I'm ready to be heartbroken' this could almost be the sequel. Easily the fastest song on the album it is pop perfection. This song practically begs to be used in a movie.

Overall 'My Maudlin Career' probably isn't for everyone.  It's a bit of a slower pace and especially in the middle can drag a bit. While many who listen to indie music may be used to it, the low-fi sound may be a turn off to some. However if you like music that feels like standing in the rain with someone you love, than I couldn't recommend it enough.

8 out of 10

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