Album Picks: Camera Obscura, Splashh, Future Bible Heroes

Posted by Billy Gil, June 4, 2013 10:07am | Post a Comment

Camera ObscuraDesire Lines

CD $12.98

LP $18.98

Download $9.99

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.

The band will appear at Amoeba Hollywood June 17 at 6 p.m. for a live set (which will be webcasted after the show on and album signing!


Splashh - Comfort

CD $12.98

LP $16.98

Splashh’s debut record is too much fun, a super-soaked blast of distorted power pop that’s impossible to resist. Honestly, just try to put on a song like “All I Wanna Do” it without getting swept up in its minor-key melody and singalong lyrics — before you know it, you’ll be on your second, third, fourth listen, chanting along to sweet nonsense like “sweet cherry … extraordinary.” Though they follow a path well trodden, from the Pixies through Wavves’ recent Afraid of Heights, Splashh know their way around a familiar format. “Need It” has real shoegaze chops, more reminiscent of Swervedriver than Weezer. Slack-rocker “Vacation” pair watery guitars and a chorus like a sunnier take on Nirvana. And “Lemonade” rides sunrays shot out from its heavy bassline, only to come down with unexpected melancholy like light rain after a hot day. It’s hard not to play name-that-influence with Comfort, but anyone who likes this sort of thing shouldn’t care — not when the songs are this catchy and the delivery this strong, exuding easy confidence that wins you over. Jump in and enjoy.


Future Bible HeroesPartygoing

CD $13.98

Three-CD Pack $26.98

Three-LP Pack $34.98

Any time The Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt releases music it’s worth checking out, and his synth-heavy Future Bible Heroes project is no exception. Like the Magnetic Fields’ classic Holiday album, Future Bible Heroes pair Merritt’s sardonic lyricism, often sung here by Magnetic Fields’ Claudia Gonson, with fluttering synth soundscapes. Merritt is at his mopey best on Partygoing’s “Sadder than the Moon.” Three-packs come with the first two Future Bible Heroes releases, Memories of Love and Eternal Youth.


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Album Picks (146), Camera Obscura (6), Splashh (1), Future Bible Heroes (3)