Camera Obscura are your archetypal Glaswegian indie pop group, melodic, sweet, and harmless. You could go as far as to say that if Belle & Sebastian and Teenage Fanclub decided to have a love-child, the result would be this lovely 6 piece.
My Maudlin Career, album four since 2001 sees them reunited again with The Bear Quartets, part-time producer Jari Haapalainen, who also produced 2006’s Let’s Get Out of This Country. Sexily titled lead single and album opener ‘French Navy’ sets a retrospective spectorish mood to the album with front woman Tracyanne Cambells voice sounding like its been pulled right out of 1965, add this to a pause after each line followed by two big drum beats and your watching them on a black and white TV still believing smoking is good for you.
From then on we’re treated to a collection of pleasant songs about love and loss superbly produced in a simlar vein with the combination of string arrangements and fabulous drumming. ‘Swans’, ‘James’ and ‘My Maudlin Career’ stand out as album highlights. The filler is the problem though, too many of the eleven tracks on My Maudlin Career fail to hit their stride and, well, maudle along.
There’s no denying the incredible production, the string arrangements are stunning and it almost becomes something special because of that. It’s ulitmately let down by not having enough quality tunes which is a pity. There is a feeling when the album starts of ‘Oh god I’m gonna love this’, but by once you realise the strong middle section doesn’t last all the warmth in it’s sound starts to fade and leaves you feeling disappointed and cold.