Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career

April 24, 2009

Been listening to the excellent new record by Camera Obscura all week.

James was right when he said this morning that overall, “My Maudlin Career” doesn’t sound too different from the last Camera Obscura album, “Let’s Get Out of this Country” from 2006. Nor does it sound too different from the one (“Underachievers Please Try Harder” 2003) that came before that or the one that came before that (“Biggest Bluest Hi Fi” 2001). But, somehow, each of these lps sounds better than the one that came before.

What I mean is that the songwriting gets stronger; the arrangements become more varied, complex, and interesting; and, of course, Tracyanne Campbell’s vocals just get more and more sublimely awesome. On the new album, “French Navy,” “The Sweetest Thing,” and the title track swing effortlessly, and “Careless Love” basically stands on par with everything on “Dusty in Memphis” save perhaps for “Just a Little Lovin'” and “Breakfast in Bed.”

Proof, in other words, that there’s a lot to be said for picking out one thing to do, doing it good, then doing it better, then doing it great.

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