live review

Camera Obscura, January 18, Auckland

Camera Obscura, January 18, Auckland

January 18 2010
Monte Cristo Room, Auckland

Reviewed by Sara-May
29th March 2010

On the very humid evening of Monday, January 18, we were lucky enough to have Camera Obscura pass through Auckland in the middle of a mammoth world tour supporting their stunning new album, My Maudlin Career. I was especially excited to see them, after this album landed on my top ten albums of 2009 list.

First up was Slow Club from Sheffield, England. This duo was a fantastic warm up for the crowd, with cute quirky Rebecca Taylor thrashing her little drum kit beside Charles Watson on his distorted guitar. Their high energy, folk-rocky, super fun songs (with names like “It Doesn't Have to Be Beautiful, Unless It's Beautiful”, and “There is No Good Way to Say I'm Leaving You”) had us in raptures, and their quirky English banter in between songs had us in stitches. Their first full length album Yeah So came out last year; this is definitely a band to watch.

By the time Camera Obscura took the stage, the Montecristo Room was crammed, steamy and ready to dance. The band however looked cool, collected and decidedly twee, and proceeded to take us through over an hour of romantic, beautiful songs. TracyAnne Campbell's soft-yet-strong vocals told tales of infatuation and frustration; the mood switched between 1950s swing, up-beat and soulful, and delicately melancholic.

Highlights included “French Navy” -- the exquisite trumpet solo at the end sent shivers down my sweaty spine; the heart-breaking ballad “James”, where Campbell laments “Oh James, you broke me, I thought I knew you well”; “Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken”, an adorably delirious love song; and my personal favourite, “Swans”, with its bouncy, catchy riff and sweetly sarcastic lyrics. The encore “Razzle Dazzle Rose” built to a violet crescendo, with Carey Lander giving her keyboard a beating while the trumpet blared in the background.

My Maudlin Career is Camera Obscura’s fourth full-length album, and their most mature, well-crafted effort to date. With numerous North American dates ahead of them on their tour, including Coachella in April, they are bound to leave a trail of devoted new fans behind them. They certainly left a lot in Auckland on Monday.




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