Enthralling: Camera Obscura’s “Desire Lines”

Camera Obscura


Camera Obscura
Desire Lines
4AD

Scotland’s Tracyanne Campbell has a voice that could break your heart. Sad, sweet and serene at once, she’s in peak form on the enthralling Desire Lines, Camera Obscura’s fifth album and first in four years.

While her elegant pop melodies could be repurposed as ’60s girl-group sounds or ’50s doo-wop, Campbell’s deceptively complex lyrics offer a more nuanced look at relationships than traditional mainstream melodramas usually provide. “You say honesty has made me cruel,” she sings gently in the tender “William’s Heart,” adding, “I say you’re soft and made of wool.” On “This Is Love (Feels Alright)” Campbell exclaims, “When I found your girlfriend crying / I could have slapped you in the face,” in sharp contrast to the song’s comforting textures.

For those who care about such things, Neko Case and My Morning Jacket’s Jim James show support by adding backing vocals, but Desire Lines is its own nonguilty pleasure, soaked in romanticism—yet bracingly smart.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate