Camera Obscura – Desire Lines
It’s been four years since Camera Obscura released their last album and it feels like a lifetime ago when their brand of witty, winsome indie pop was the underground style du jour — does the world need another album from Camera Obscura? One listen to Desire Lines and the answer is a resounding yes, yes, yes. The time off has done them wonders, following a run of great albums that seemed to plateau at 2009's My Maudlin Career. Desire Lines is invigorated with a warmer sound, billowed by warm synthesizers and sultry horns, giving songs like “This is Love (Feels Alright)” a postmodern blue-eyed soul feel, like they’re updating what Roxy Music did on Avalon. Camera Obscura have always been able to do downtrodden-yet-upbeat well (see past singles like “Lloyd, I’m ready to Be Heartbroken”), and they take that winning formula to new heights on songs like the new-wavey “Troublemaker,” the sea-shanty-style “Every Weekday” and their good ol’ fashioned ’60s pop style “Do It Again.” Even when they slow things down, on songs like “William’s Heart,” whereas in the past they’d be charmingly bookish, Tracyanne Campbell sounds rapturous when dwells on the evocative line “to die in the arms of a 20-year-old.” Lyrically, she’s as strong as ever, and her delivery remains the perfect concoction of shy and snarky, singing self-deprecatingly of her “New Year’s resolution to write something of value.” The totality of Desire Lines would qualify as just that.