Camera Obscura “reaches a poignant peak” on its fourth album, said Lindsey Thomas in Spin. Since debuting almost 10 years ago, the Scottish band has proudly worn its “fondness for woeful heartache and Phil Spector-esque production” on its sleeve.
They let their emotions get the best of them on My Maudlin Career, and it sounds wonderful, said Steve LaBate in Paste. This album is a mellifluous collection of chamber-pop “wrapped snugly in a blanket of twee,” dropped gently into a basket, and “set afloat on the River Reverb.” Once Tracyanne Campbell “unspools her lazy, entrancing croon” on the rhapsodic “French Navy,” the rest of the album’s charms—from the tenderness of “James” to the cascade of strings on “Careless Love”—become hard to resist.
Campbell’s voice “retains its vulnerable-but-tough naïveté,” said Brian Howe in Pitchforkmedia.com. Every song showcases both the cynical and the sentimental side of her personality, conjuring up one “tragically beautiful situation” after another. On the twinkly title track, Campbell sings, “This maudlin career has come to an end.” That’s anything but the case for Camera Obscura.