Camera Obscura

The sublimely voiced Tracyanne Campbell sings gorgeous tunes about deep-seated melancholy, heartbreak, disappointment, lies, icy veins, and cold, cold hearts. The subjects she writes about are deeply personal, her feelings often intense, and her experiences traumatic. Yet she envelops her woes in richly alluring melodies that her band, Glasgow's Camera Obscura, play with a refined touch, resulting in lovely, transcendental pop. CO's new My Maudlin Career (4AD) was again produced in Sweden by Jari Haapalainen, whose lush, layered approach, often employing judicious horns and strings, suggests a more subtle Phil Spector or Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys. Meanwhile, with her shadowy edges and echo-filled tone, Campbell sometimes is reminiscent of Neko Case with the siren turned down several notches, especially on the twangy "Forests and Sands." And despite, or maybe because of, her prevailing sadness and troubles, Campbell is an incurable romantic at heart, who actually rhymes moon and June in one tune ("James") whose protagonist, of course, broke up with her.
Sat., May 30, 8 p.m., 2009

 
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