Camera Obscura My Maudlin Career

Camera Obscura My Maudlin Career
In theory, Camera Obscura should have painted themselves into a Belle & Sebastian-like corner by now. Yet they have flourished and have gone far beyond what their early outings suggested they were capable of. They've managed to find a wonderfully unexpected niche that seems to exist outside the standard space-time continuum where Motown, Patsy Cline, '70s AM radio and Scottish indie pop all came together beautifully. My Maudlin Career, the band's first release on 4AD, is their most accomplished and confident album yet and it is likely going to be one of 2009's best. It takes its inspiration from 2006's Let's Get Out Of This Country but adds so much more — the arrangements are more intricate and the lyrics are a little bit sadder. Holding it all together are Tracyanne Campbell's lovely vocals, which are delivered with both humour and sarcasm, making every song a delight. Initially, the similarities with its predecessor threaten to undermine the record, but a few listens will reveal just how far the band have progressed. There are touches of both Mazzy Star and the Concretes, but ultimately they've truly moved out of the shadow of their fellow Glaswegians and are producing very memorable music of their own. (4AD)