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coverpic flag Scotland - Full Moon 155 - 05/09/09

Camera Obscura
My Maudlin Career
4AD / Playground

Camera Obscura are one of the many, many Glasgow bands enriching the world with guitar-pop, alternative or a bit more straightforward - without being all that straight, during the last couple of decades: Orange Juice, Aztec Camera, The Blue Nile, The Vaselines, The Pastels, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Trash Can Sinatras, Teenage Fanclub, Belle & Sebastian, Snow Patrol, The Delgados, Franz Ferdinand, Sons and Daughters, The 1990s, Glasvegas. And Camera Obscura, who make flowering, powerful pop music. Music not being obscure at all, except to the public.

My Maudlin Career holds embracing pop songs, topped with the warm and sweet (pure, not sticky) voice of Tracyanne Campbell, which is slightly reminiscent to the voice of Natalie Merchant of 10,000 Maniacs. Besides that Camera Obscura create music built on pure British pop traditions, with strong hints of folk thrown in. Strings, horns and percussion and all. From their debut, Biggest Bluest Hi Fi (2001, with production help from Belle & Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch), which won them John Peel as a fan, they've come to their 4th album. As with their acclaimed 2006 album, Let's Get Out Of This Country, yet again they've chosen Swedish Jari producer Haapalainen (Ed Harcourt, Peter, Bjorn & John) as their man to trust. The songs are like velvet to your skin, but, well, it might get too mushy.

Anyway, My Maudlin Career holds many low-voiced, chilled feel-good hits for the summer. Even though the songs aren't sunbeams, they sure have got this radiant vibe. "Swans" and the title track are among the stand-out tracks here. And, yes, Tracyanne Campbell's voice for sure is melting ice.

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