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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Birth Of Tragedy? - The Will To Power!
Camera Obscura have produced another beautiful record. Like all great records, this collection has a unity of theme and tone, and yet every song is different and memorable. The tunes are good. The arrangements & orchestration are sympathetic to the meaning of each song. There is good use of percussion, strings, brass & effects to fill out the sound when appropriate...
Published on 24 April 2009 by Dr. K.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but Samey
Heard Camera Obscura's version of Super Trouper on Radio 2 and loved it.

Downloaded Tears for Affairs and loved that too.

All the work is good but little variety
Published on 15 May 2013 by Kathy Barrett


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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Birth Of Tragedy? - The Will To Power!, 24 April 2009
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This review is from: My Maudlin Career (Audio CD)
Camera Obscura have produced another beautiful record. Like all great records, this collection has a unity of theme and tone, and yet every song is different and memorable. The tunes are good. The arrangements & orchestration are sympathetic to the meaning of each song. There is good use of percussion, strings, brass & effects to fill out the sound when appropriate. In a way it is a concept album about a failed love affair. It is a tragedy - but by force of will, an outstanding work of art has been created from this material.

Tracyanne Campbell is a genius. I have been trying to ponder why. It is because her lyrics are serious - deadly serious - and yet also humourous. To my mind she stands equal to only two other great writers: Morrissey and Mark E Smith. They all have this talent for writing lyrics that combine tragedy and comedy, which requires incredible subtlety, intelligence and 'class'. Otherwise the result is cack-handed naffness. It is very difficult to explain this to people who don't get it. The Fall described it perfectly in Shiftwork (1991) as 'the war against intelligence'. In the eighties, people used to describe the Smiths as 'boring' or 'depressing' because they did not understand songs like 'Girlfriend in a coma' or 'Heaven knows I'm miserable now'. Tracyanne writes lyrics like: 'There are flowers in my house, I bought them myself' (Swans). As Morrissey said 'I know, its really serious'.

If you like My Maudlin Career, I would urge you to check out their other classic albums 'Underachievers please try harder' and 'Let's get out of this country'.

Hats off to the Scottish Arts Council for supporting the band; government money well spent. If only they would give £10 billion quid to Camera Obscura instead of Royal Bank of Scotland. The world would be a better place.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravura Obscura, 4 May 2009
This review is from: My Maudlin Career (Audio CD)
Camera Obscura are back. Working again with producer Jari Haapalainen. Picking up pretty much where they left off. Single "French Navy" starts in a dusty library, where Tracyanne Campbell sings "I was waiting to be struck by lightning/Waiting for somebody exciting/Like you." In the world of Camera Obscura, of course, love is impossible to control and you don't have to be called Lloyd to break somebody's heart. "The Sweetest Thing" is a girl-group ballad with a Scottish accent. Title track "My Maudlin Career" sounds like a throwback ("I'm not a child I know/We're not going steady...") to the classic "Teenager" from breakout album "Underachievers Please Try Harder" ("You're not a teenager/So don't act like one..."). It seems perhaps MY MAUDLIN CAREER is not about reflecting sentimentally on the career of global twee-pop superstars. It's about the folly of wishing and hoping in dusty libraries -- and the after effects of being struck by romantic lightning. Of course, being an international recording artist might come into play too. "Let's Get Out of the Country" may have been a great career move. But it means that former lovers are left behind in "Other Towns & Cities." Hotel rooms make a great place to get truly maudlin ("Drinking whisky reminds me of you... Who's holding you tonight?") The sun comes up again (in Mexico City) on bouncy final track "Honey in the Sun." If you enjoyed getting out of the country with these Glaswegians last time around, you'll be delighted to rejoin the band on its musical journey.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars £5.38? Bargain of the decade..., 1 Oct. 2010
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This review is from: My Maudlin Career (Audio CD)
I have been vaguely aware of Camera Obscura for a few years but for some..er..obscure reason never checked them out until now.What a find.I have had the album for about six weeks and without lapsing into hyperbole (but am about to) this is the best record I have heard in years.And years.
It took a few listens not only to get into the 11 superbly crafted,efortless songs but to penetrate Tracyanne Campbells glasweigian accent.After that,it was uphill all the way.
Belle and Sebastian have just realesed 'Write about Love' but,sorry guys, Tracyanne has beaten you to it.Every song is an exploration of heartbreak,joy and unrequited passion.Don't know anything about Ms Campbells love life but it must have been a bit of a roller coaster to produce songs like this.An absolute triumph.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The world's most underrated band!, 27 Jan. 2010
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K. Flitter (Maldon, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: My Maudlin Career (Audio CD)
Yes, I've got all their stuff and have seen them live four times, but I only got that way by accidentally finding them via "Pandora" a few years ago. Since then they've become my favourite band and I can't praise them enough.
Of course, it's always nice to like a band that nobody else has heard of, but these guys deserve better than that!
Spread the word!
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4.0 out of 5 stars An exceptional voice, 12 Jun. 2009
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doublegone (scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: My Maudlin Career (MP3 Download)
It is strange that a city as supposedly boisterous as Glasgow has always had a streak of unrepentant wistfulness running through its pop music. Camera Obscura are the latest in a long and illustrious line that runs back through Belle and Sebastian to Lloyd Cole and the Commotions. It seems that people with floppy fringes who wish they were in an old black and white French film will still look out the window forlornly at Byres Road in the rain. Never happier than when they are a wee bit sad. And quite intelligent too. Bless.

On this, their fourth album, Camera Obscura are doing pretty much what they have always done - but better than ever. High points are the opener, French Navy, and You Told a Lie.

Tracyanne Campbell is a class act. An astonishing voice and a good songwriter with her own style and way with a melody.

The album has a big sound with horns and strings sweeping in to join the core band. This is consistent with their last album, Lets Get Out of This Country, but things are sounding a bit crisper this time and I was pleased to find the gallons of reverb that swamped the previous record are absent here. Well at least on the tracks with complex arrangements that would be muddied by them. Sparser moments are suitably echoey.

This is a great album but I am left wondering what Traceyanne might accomplish in a different setting. She seems far more talented than her band.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, 16 July 2012
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This review is from: My Maudlin Career (Audio CD)
I first heard this band singing live on Radcliffe & Maconie's show and the first song they played made me want to buy the album.

They are often compared to Belle & Sebastian and I would imagine that most people who liked one would like the other. Highlights of the CD are French Navy and Swans.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but Samey, 15 May 2013
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This review is from: My Maudlin Career (MP3 Download)
Heard Camera Obscura's version of Super Trouper on Radio 2 and loved it.

Downloaded Tears for Affairs and loved that too.

All the work is good but little variety
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4.0 out of 5 stars Grows on you, 5 Jan. 2010
This review is from: My Maudlin Career (Audio CD)
A very nice album of melodious if slightly "easy" music, with a slight twist. Lavish production, with horns and violins, recalls mid-1960s pop records. The lyrics are darker than you would expect though. And ultimately the music grows on you - it sounds quite different from what else is on the radio right now, but it deserves to be heard more. It's quite listenable at home or in the car. The immediate referent would be Belle and Sebastian, fellow Glaswegians who first put Camera Obscura on the map. But Camera Obscura have their own angle on "baroque pop" - somewhere more in the "James Bond soundtrack" zone.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fey, fragile and beautiful, 15 Jan. 2010
This review is from: My Maudlin Career (Audio CD)
Like a cross between 'classic era' Everything But The Girl and the sorely missed Sundays, Camera Obscura fill a musical niche that has been uncatered for for years. Yes, there are standout tracks -- French Navy being the most obvious -- but to grab a single track and run would do a great disservice to the album which, in its entirety, is great mood music and deserves the opportunity to wrap itself around you with its wistful singing, sweet melodies and well-crafted lyrics.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Every Song A Winner, 24 Sept. 2009
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N. Print (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: My Maudlin Career (Audio CD)
French Navy received a bit of air play which put me onto this group. Having previewed the rest of the songs on Amazon I decided to buy the whole album. There are so many catchy songs, just as good as French Navy. The singing voice of tracyanne cambell is stunning. If you appreciate 10000 maniacs or Beautiful South then I think you'll love this. I just cannot understand why they are not huge by now, this is the best album I've bought in years.
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My Maudlin Career
My Maudlin Career by Camera Obscura (Audio CD - 2009)
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