My Maudlin CareerAlbum | Camera Obscura By Jim Allen
Winningly winsome melodies and sparkling pop-savvy vision
Scotland's Camera Obscura may have begun life as Belle and Sebastian's twee little-sister band, but on 2006's Let's Get Out of This Country, their fragile, unassuming approach gave way to a sparkling, widescreen world. The follow-up, once again overseen by Swedish producer Jari Haapalainen, picks up where its predecessor left off, alternating between fully orchestrated pop gems and breezy jangle, all sporting the same heady rush and lyrical smarts. Some of the tunes seem to bear almost Spectorian aspirations, and traces of everyone from Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys to the ‘60s Stax stable pop up in the arrangements and production. Of course, all this ambition would be for naught if Camera Obscura proved to be flimsy in the songwriting department. But as anyone who ever lent an ear to their earlier albums can easily tell you, that's not a consideration. So whether you're leaping up and down like a giddy schoolkid to the breathless pop explosion of "French Navy" or basking in the amber glow of the heart-tugging strings and last-day-of-summer guitars on "Careless Love," you're bound to be seduced by both Camera Obscura's winningly winsome melodies and their bigger-than-ever pop-savvy vision.