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CD Review: Camera Obscura 

My Maudlin Career (4AD)

Tracyanne Campbell, singer and songwriter for Glasgow's Camera Obscura, has overcome a couple of identity crises to put her band on an impressive winning streak. The group began under the daunting wing and influence of Belle & Sebastian, working with Stuart Murdoch and reflecting the B & S sound more than a little. Camera Obscura co-founder John Henderson left in 2005, leaving Campbell as the de facto leader. This role has benefited both her writing and the band; 2006's Let's Get Out of This Country earned the biggest accolades of their career. Campbell continues that hot streak here, increasingly easing, if ever so gently, away from the band's bedrock twee foundations toward a marriage of girl-group/wall-of-sound bedrock. The record's best moments (the single "French Navy," has an impressive string arrangement, and the bouncy "Swans" retains just a touch of debt to B&S) mark more of the territory that Campbell began to explore on Country. So while there aren't any major surprises in this Career, there's plenty to recommend. Chris Drabick

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September 23, 2020

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