Review of ‘Desire lines’ From Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura's "Desire Lines" reviewed by Northern Transmissions

Artist: Camera Obscura

Title: Desire Lines

Label: 4AD

Rating: 7.6

Scottish indie pop band Camera Obscura are to release their fifth album Desire Lines, out on 4AD this month. Following 2009’s My Maudlin Career, the Glasgow band’s newest release was recorded in Portland, Oregon and includes guest vocals from Neko Case and Jim James (My Morning Jacket). Working with producer Tucker Martine (R.E.M., Spoon, My Morning Jacket), the work on the album started in 2011, not long after the release of their fourth album.

Intro” opens the album with a brief selection of dramatic strings before “This Is Love (Feels Alright)” brings in the gentle, catchy melodies and lead singer Tracyanne Campbell’s velvety vocals Camera Obscura are known for. It’s a light hearted love song; “Just give in to the night, this is love, feels alright, you’re a star on the sky line”.

William’s Heart” is a wistful, upbeat call for the heart of a man; “Oh William, where have you gone?” whilst “New Year’s Resolution” introduces the use of an electric guitar in the beginning and is again, hopeful in sound, resolutions about kissing a boy and other naive possibilities mark the tone.

Break It To You Gently” and “I Missed Your Party” are the album’s most light hearted upbeat tracks, whilst still managing the thoughtful, twee vibes that make the band what they are. “Cri Du Coeur” is a day dreamy, soothing track with the vocals to match; “Oh you can see what’s your mind, you go for it come on this time, I know I know I’ll cry”. With the lyrics and the mood, always a down with an up, a little self deprecation that appeals to human nature.

Title track “Desire Lines” closes the album with strings, and beautiful, country influenced instrumentals and narrative; “I went to California, I needed some eye wonder, and the green of your eyes met my bluebird surprise there was a story there, we could send letters, beautiful letters”. Desire Lines is more sunny, twee-indie with songs about love, hope and done with a great confidence from Camera Obscura.

Reviewed by Heather Welsh.

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