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Desire Lines (2013)

Artist: Camera Obscura
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Learn more about Desire Lines:

Format: CD
Sku: 249660455
UPC: 652637331424
UPC 14: 00652637331424
Release Date: 6/4/2013
See more in Pop

Song Listing

Disc 1
Song Title
1. Intro
2. This Is Love (Feels Alright)
3. Troublemaker
4. William's Heart
5. New Year's Resolution
6. Do It Again
7. Cri du Coeur
8. Every Weekday
9. Fifth In Line To the Throne
10. I Missed Your Party
11. Break It To You Gently
12. Desire Lines

Album Notes and Credits

Notes & Personnel Info
Muze PNote Personnel: Tracyanne Campbell (vocals, guitar); Kenny McKeeve (guitar); Paul Brainard (pedal steel guitar); Nathaniel Smith (cello); Jeremy Kittel (strings); Dan Bechdolt (tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone); Gilbert Elorreaga (trumpet); Mark V. Gonzales (trombone); Carey Lander (keyboards); Gav Dunbar (bass guitar); Lee Thomson (drums); Jim James, Neko Case (background vocals).
Muze PNote Audio Mixer: Tucker Martine.
Muze PNote Recording information: Flora Recording And Playback.
Muze PNote Photographer: Anna Isola Crolla.
Muze PNote Glaswegian group Camera Obscura have dialed in their approach to indie pop perfection over the course of their lengthy run, starting out as the kid brother band to their friends in Belle & Sebastian, but finding a voice all their own by the time of their 2006 high-watermark album Let's Get Out of This Country. The 2009 follow-up My Maudlin Career and now fifth album Desire Lines don't see Camera Obscura wildly altering their sound, but there's a certain development that comes from years of refining their increasingly cool and self-assured songs. Desire Lines was delayed by a two-year period of uncertainty for the band, where illness and other personal problems put things on indefinite pause for a while. When the clouds cleared in 2012, the group traveled to Portland, Oregon to work with new producer Tucker Martine (R.E.M., Decemberists, Sufjan Stevens). The result is another installment of brilliant pop from the group, with vocalist Tracyanne Campbell's now trademark mixture of heartbreaking and sharply astute lyrical turns guiding the songs through either romantic longing, dour tragedy, or touches of the band's more and more familiar dry sense of humor. The production is somewhat more clear than previous efforts, relying less on reverb and stuffing the frequency ranges with even more string sections, odd percussion, and pop accents than before. The upbeat tunes like "Troublemaker" and "Do It Again" flirt with synth pop undertones in the form of interlocking synthesizer lines and drum machine-like beats that meld with Campbell's sad-hearted harmonies and the more familiar Bacharach-ian percussion of previous albums. The lush melancholia of "William's Heart" evokes the soft, airy sadness of the Go-Betweens or even early solo Morrissey, the repeating lyrical coda "To die in the arms of a 20-year-old" giving the song an uneasy connotation that entwines death, aging, and heartbreak. Elsewhere, "Every Weekday" hits the same stride between jaunty and sad that the Smiths excelled at, with Johnny Marr-esque guitar playing and a singsongy melody. Campbell's lyrics hit the balance between comical and utterly devastated throughout the record, with references to watching Flashdance repeatedly somehow making sense next to lines about rejection and bitterly failed loves. What's most striking about Desire Lines is the sense that, even in all the unsettled feelings and somewhat self-effacing themes of their music, Camera Obscura are completely comfortable in their skin at this point. In a roundabout way, Desire Lines is reminiscent of Belle & Sebastian's 2003 effort Dear Catastrophe Waitress. Though that album was spottier and more stylistically all over the place, it seemed like the most deliberate album from B&S at the time, and that every choice was emphatically decided on, regardless of the sometimes weird or unpopular results. Desire Lines has a similar feel of a band bounding out of the gates with a renewed creative energy. Here it results in some of their best and most confident work to date. ~ Fred Thomas

Producer: Tucker Martine

Engineer: Tucker Martine

Associated Artists and Works

Camera Obscura (California)
Desire Lines ~ Camera Obscura (California)

Technical Info

Music Release Date Release Date : 06/03/2013
Music Original Release Date Original Release Date : 2013
Music CatalogId Catalog ID : CAD 3314CD
Music Label Name Label : 4AD (USA)
Music Number of Discs Number of Discs : 1
Music Studio or Live Studio/Live : Studio
Music Mono or Stereo Mono/Stereo : Stereo
Music SPAR code SPAR Code : n/a
Music UPC UPC : 00652637331424

Professional Reviews

Mojo (Publisher)
- 4 stars out of 5 -- "DESIRE LINES is the immaculately conceived album they've always threatened to make."

Product Attributes

Product attributeArtist:   Camera Obscura
Product attributeLabel:   4ad Records
Product attributeMusic Format:   Compact Disc
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