A comforting sigh of wispy, indie pop-meets-country-meets-girl group pleasantry filled with heartache-themed tales that prove you’re not alone in your post-breakup despair. That’s what we all have come to appreciate from Scotland’s Camera Obscura and, once again, that’s what is given on their fourth album (and 4AD label debut), My Maudlin Career, a stellar set of eleven tracks that, even on first listen, already feel like “classics” that have been adored over for years.
Mixtape Maestro’s favorite is “You Told A Lie”, a wintry-hazed midtempo that opens with lead singer/ principal songwriter Tracyanne Campbell feebly cooing a capella after a still-cherished old lover (“No need to convince me you were a catch”) before being swept away by a strings-adorned, yester-age C&W sway.
The soundtrack may sound sweet, but beneath it’s retro beauty, lyrics of a bitter and insecure slant illustrate a much sadder state of things as she over-analyzes why their romance went awry. “Who was it that said that love conquers all?/ Oh, he was a fool ’cause it doesn’t add up,” goes one striking couplet, while later Campbell frets over and over on a passing line her ex once threw at her about her eyes being the “coldest blue”.
What did he mean? Was it a loving compliment or a cruel diss? Sadly, she never gets an answer, and is only left to ruminate over the somber reality that she’s “stuck with them and they’re stuck on you”. Masterful.