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My Maudlin Career [CD]

Camera Obscura Audio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
Price: £7.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (20 April 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: 4AD
  • ASIN: B001T46U32
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,569 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

1. French Navy
2. The Sweetest Thing
3. You Told A Lie
4. Away With Murder
5. Swans
6. James
7. Careless Love
8. My Maudlin Career
9. Forests And Sands
10. Other Towns And Cities
11. Honey In The Sun


Back and newly championed by an independent heavyweight, Camera Obscura become not maudlin, but a little more mellow on their fourth album.

The Glaswegian outfit's loyal fanbase have had a three year wait for this project; three years in which they put in a considerable effort satisfying the live yearnings of their dominating worldwide faithful. Quite why the overseas audience have always got Camera Obscura, while their native music fan needed 'retro pop' waved in their faces via the dubious tabloid outings of beehived and sailor-suited divas is a mystery. Thankfully, respected label 4AD have gone some way to making up for British apathy by signing up the band for the release of My Maudlin Career.

Jari Haapalainen is back for his second outing with the band, building on the dense production introduced on their third album Let's Get Out Of This Country. Moving further away from jaunty folk pop and embracing lush balladry, this collection sounds more Mazzy Star than The Concretes, doused with the expected references to the middle decades of the last century. Single French Navy is 60s pop with strings, and a vocal echo that lends itself so well to Tracyanne Campbell's voice, sending it ethereal.

The overall tone is more reflective than on every other Camera Obscura project, and perhaps too maudlin around You Told A Lie and Away With Murder. The following Swans, with a great opening hook and nursery rhyme feel is more typical of the feelgood If Looks Could Kill. Their dance-along, big beat specialities have always been where Camera Obscura flourish, and they wrap up with the album's other stonker Honey In The Sun.

With each album, Camera Obscura offer just enough tangible difference, without compromising their cuteness or charm. From this example, the potential presents itself for a total evolution - away from country, folk, retro and pop and toward epic soundscape. The possibilities are endless and exciting. --Keira Burgess

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Top Customer Reviews
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
By Dr. K.
Format: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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravura Obscura 4 May 2009
Format: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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars £5.38? Bargain of the decade... 1 Oct. 2010
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I have been vaguely aware of Camera Obscura for a few years but for 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely 16 July 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
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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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An exceptional voice 21 April 2009
By doublegone TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love it😊
Published 1 month ago by T E SPEED
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very happy with the purchase.
Classic Camera Obscura. Re bought because I had scratched my original copy.
Published 15 months ago by Edward Tate
5.0 out of 5 stars great
I had this but played it till it was not able to had to by it again , great stuff
Published 16 months ago by Robert Flett
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 19 months ago by marco46
3.0 out of 5 stars okay album
good album though quite sad - notary uplifting as the song French Navy which brilliant
Published on 3 July 2014 by Pan
5.0 out of 5 stars Gift
As this was a gift, I am only able to rate the service, which was excellent. I am assured, by the recipient, that the music was great too.
Published on 29 Mar. 2014 by Anne from Herts
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this album
I love this album, all the songs on it are great, 'James' always makes me cry, truly lovely and original
Published on 11 Jan. 2014 by michelle de oude
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. Read more
Published on 15 May 2013 by Kathy Barrett
5.0 out of 5 stars Wicked Album!
A great big beautiful album! Buy it now! Gorgeous lyrics layed over delightful music with a twist of 50's Spector Ronettes! Big reverbs! I love this album!
Published on 8 Feb. 2013 by Mr-t
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