Lead by Tracyanne Campbell, it’s been five years since the last release from Glasgow’s much-loved Camera Obscura. Sadly, two years after recording their last album, Desire Lines, keyboardist Carey Lander past away. After being away for so long, it is an absolute treat that this album came out earlier in 2018 on Merge records. Teaming up with Crybaby’s Danny Coughlan, the duo strikes up what is probably the best band you’d ever hear if you stumbled across them in a random pub on a cold winter’s night.
With an autumnal warmth, the album mentions the US several times, especially in the infectious single “Alabama”. A joyous, upbeat track, Campbell sings of “when I’m an old lady, I still miss you like crazy”. The duo trade verses on “Deep In The Night” before a soft Campbell vocal appears at the tail end. Subtle horns give a bit of swing to “Home & Dry” before the charming country of “It Can’t Be Love Unless It Hurts”.
The album is let down slightly in the middle where “Jacqueline” brings the mood down before a couple of forgettable tracks get trotted out. Things rebound towards the end with the Belle and Sebastian 90s indie rock of Danny’s “Cellophane Girl” complete with handclaps and closes with a Georgia O’Keefe tribute in “O’Keeffe”. The album really shines with the first four tracks which are some of the classiest indie rock moments of 2018. A winning duo that would be a joy to hear more from in the future.