Charming Indie

‘My Maudlin Career’ has been described as Camera Obscura’s “darkest” album, which is rather like calling Metallica one of the cutest bands about. It’s a bright album full of sweet indie nuggets with an abundance of fresh, flowing surf-rock harmonies and breezy ballads.

Like Marmite you’ll either love or hate Camera Obscura within the first minute and the songs mostly stick to the same formula, so if you’ve not clicked with the first track it’s best to switch off now. The opener is also the first single from the album, ‘French Navy’, a lively number with fun, frothy guitars and a distinctly 60’s doo-wop style. The twee lyrics, “You make me go ooh with the thing that you do” should be taken with a pinch of salt (to remove the sickly aftertaste).

‘Away With Murder’ is the most maudlin track on the album with a slow, slide-guitar lament to a failing relationship. It’s a haunting, melancholy number written on Valentine’s Day to add a little sincerity. ‘Careless Love’ is another more sorrowful tune that swells with insouciant slide guitars and feels more regretful than sad, nevertheless it’s a pretty and pleasing tune with a smooth, rich melody. Even title track, ‘My Maudlin Career’ glistens with gentle twinkling sounds; heartache has never sounded so perfectly delicate and sparkling.

Quirky love song, ‘Other Cities and Towns’ is a highlight with minimal backing that highlights the soft, emotional vocals that ring out with the regular lilt of a lullaby. Closer, ‘Honey In The Sun’ is a great number to end on with some warm brass adding to the melodic mix to create a memorable, uplifting number.

‘My Maudlin Career’ is indie agony at its most impressive with plenty of shy, subtle charm in each aching folk-tinged tune. The pretty lackadaisical tunes are Camera Obscura’s usual fare but there is a definite thread of pain that runs through the 11 dreamy tracks. If you like this kind of music, you’ll love this album, if not you may find some standout tracks and find yourself dozing through the rest, but there’s no doubt about the fact that Camera Obscura do what they do very well.