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A band whose mastery of their own formula warrants almost universal praise, Camera Obscura’s latest record is no departure. Their preference for simple, well-executed pop music is one that has largely remained unchanged throughout their career; the songs themselves may have benefited from experience and maturity, but one can’t help but feel that, in essence, the Camera Obscura of today is largely the same as the one that formed in 1996.
Their naïve lyricism and innocent subject matter lend themselves perfectly to both slow balladry and upbeat, sunny pop. And the frankness of the lyrics makes for a certain originality which is rare in the tried and tested genre of twee indie – a genre which rarely benefits from the glistening production and varied instrumentation that Camera Obscura enjoy. The result is a band that are a cut above their contemporaries, one whose repertoire deserves far more recognition than it has so far garnered.
Consistent from the off, Desire Lines bears witness to a band that sound at ease with themselves; walking the line between their own DIY, ‘indie’ ethos and polished, luxurious pop. Each track is layered with interest, the instruments subtly interweaving with one another to create music that is somehow both complex and simplistic. This, coupled with Tracyanne Campbell’s excellent vocal, makes for a consistently concise, effective and moving record. — Drowned in Sound