Thursday, December 10, 2009

Album Review: Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career

I want to give you an introduction to the next few entries, just so you can get a full understanding of what I'm doing. After doing a lot of album reviews and after getting quite a few requests for me to listen and review new releases from their labels, I've become backed up with albums to listen to and review.

The truth is, it's tough to write down how you are feeling at the computer, so I had to do something else. One notebook, iPod (plus headphones), and pen later, all I needed was time.

So now at work, I'm going to write in my notebook (then arduously type it out later), and explain how I feel, paper-and-pen, honestly about these albums. I'm going to write a review of each track individually, and then a summary of what I thought about the album as a whole. I want to really be fair.

So grab a listen to each album on and read on.


1. French Navy - This song is totally pop. I really like the string melodies in the middle of the song. The repeating introduction motif is really powerful too. Very good singing as well; it's no wonder it's a hit.

2. Sweetest Thing - This is probably my favorite song on this album. The strings are just totally appropriate, and that chorus! It's a totally joyous chorus. I would trade my mother to have written that.

3. You Told A Lie - The A Cappella beginning of this song reveals the massive amount of reverb used to mix this album. The pre-chorus used to mix this album is pretty interesting though. It's just a country shuffle mostly.

4. Away With Murder - A rather slow foxtrot with a pretty depressing lyrical focus. I do think the guitar licks and keyboard riff in the background of the mix are rather pleasant, but too mellow. Overall it's just too mellow.

5. Swans - I think this song is rather popular too. I know this is supposed to be a first listen, but this album came out a while ago. I kind of think the guitar/marimba riff in the beginning sounds childish. I can't get over that.

6. James - The band Rocketship released a song in 2003 called James, sung by a girl about a persistent unwanted lover named James. Coincidence? Both songs are endlessly monotonous ballads. I'm sick of ballads.

7. Careless Love - I love the beginning of the song with the strings and clarinet playing that descriptive melody together. The guitar and organ give nice counterpart in the verses.

8. My Maudlin Career - There's a nice piano riff in this song that I like to hear. The lyrics are pretty humorous and smooth too. Maybe this song is a little long and drawn out. This is a middle point for sure.

9. Forests and Sands - The reverb is huge. Everything sounds pretty far away. Overall, the song is sweet and floats by on it's own, but nothing seems to make this song stand out or startle me to write anything interesting.

10. Other Towns & Cities - One guitar, one voice. Three tons of reverb. I just don't know what else to say. It's just boring.

11. Honey In The Sun - All of a sudden, things are fast and happy again. But is it too little too late? I think so. The verses are guitar-focused with little variation, and the chorus is just a variation of the riff the saxophones plays in the very beginning of the song. Then they repeat it all over again. "I can't go for that." - Hall & Oates


Camera Obscura as a band are doing better than ever. They have a very respectable 3 albums and a slew of EPs, and My Maudlin Career shows the lead singer, Tracyanne Campbell, taking bigger risks and leaving behind a lot of the cheer they seemed to have before.

happy songs sell records, but sad songs only sell beer. Fortunately Camera Obscura will sell more albums than a lot of bands this year, but listeners of My Maudlin Career may be purchasing a lot of beer too.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I saw them live two months ago. Well worth checking out if you have the chance. I like this new album as well although in my mind they ought to expand their sound and basic song structures a bit more. Some things off My Maudlin Career feels a bit too mush like rehash to me.

Keep up the good work with blog. :-)