Camera Obscura

Komedia, 23rd October 2009
Remember the days when you actually listened to a whole album in one sitting? Bought maybe, after school in Woolworths on a friend’s older brother’s recommendation?  These were days when playlists were the reserve of professional DJs or hopeless romantic mix tape makers, attempting to win back their lost loves.
The point here in raising this distant memory, is that Camera Obscura’s dreamy, melodic folk tunes, which effortlessly drift from one track to the next may not have found so much success in that bygone era. I have been a fan of Camera Obscura for a few years now and they have made their way onto many a playlist of mine. Usually in an effort to wind down a party but still holding their own amongst the swathes of stellar acts that populate said lists.
Seeing them live though for the first time [last Friday], it dawned on me that Camera Obscura were suffering from an acute case of Travis Syndrome. (Noun:  To be inflicted with the desire to replicate success by taking a lauded song formula, mix and matching variables such as lyrics and melodies until album tracks are indistinguishable from one another. See also; Happy-Hardcoreaphobia).
Starting their set with “My Maudlin Career” (the title track off their latest album) and blending in songs predominately from their previous record “Lets Get Out Of This Country”, the band gave the audience an almost uninterrupted rendition, not stopping to chat, but rather quaintly just play their songs to an obliging audience.  Constantly compared to Belle and Sebastian, Camera Obscura are a tight act, marred only by their samey back catalogue, they don’t fail to impress live.
Towards the end of the gig, looking around the audience, I got over my initial disappointment, just as I had found a place for the Scottish band on my playlists, I had found a reason to go to their gigs. Amongst the admittedly older crowd, (the majority of which had both feet firmly cemented to the ground, while their hips gently gyrated) were the aforementioned hopeless romantics. No longer were they putting their eggs in the mixed tape basket but taking their dates to gigs that would occasionally allow their attention to wonder and have a cheeky hug and kiss. A strategy I will have to bear in mind next time their tour brings them to Brighton. At least I’ll have plenty of time to find a date.
Words and photography by Mike Turnham

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Comments / Reviews

2 Reviews & / or comments on “Camera Obscura

  • 29th October 2009 at 9:11 am

    Nice review. My hips wouldn’t stop gyrating even once I’d left…


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