For as long as I have known about Camera Obscura, the Scottish six-piece led by singer Tracyanne Campbell, I have always associated them with fellow Scotsmen Belle and Sebastian. Maybe because Staurt Murdoch produced Camera Obscura‘s first record, Biggest Bluest Hi Fi, or maybe because both bands create dreamy pop music that transports listeners to a nostalgic place long forgotten by time.
Not that this is a bad thing. I deeply enjoy the kind of music that Camera Obscura and Belle and Sebastian create. They are deeply romantic – the kind that teenage love is built upon. They also feel endlessly timeless, like they could be part of your memory or your parents. And they are ever so innocent and true that you can’t help but love them.
On their fifth album Desire Lines though, it seems that Camera Obscura has finally moved out of the shadow of Belle and Sebastian. Truly, the move started already earlier when the band signed with 4AD for their previous record My Maudlin Career. But it is with Desire Lines that it finally feels that Camera Obscura and their music are their own. Sure, the music still retains that dreamy romantic flavor. But the band finally sounds more confident and direct with itself in the new record. Tracyanne fully inhibits the lead role in the songs and this is despite cameos from all-star singers like Neko Case and Jim James. Desire Lines is truly representative of what Camera Obscura are. And what a pleasant listen it is.
Stream the first single Do It Again embedded below.
Camera Obscura – Desire Lines comes out 6/4 via 4AD (order here)