Camera Obscura, Agent Ribbons | Metro | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Camera Obscura, Agent Ribbons Early Warnings (Music) Member Picks Recommended Soundboard

When: Fri., May 29, 9 p.m. 2009

“You challenged me to write a love song,” sings Tracyanne Campbell on “The Sweetest Thing,” from Camera Obscura’s new My Maudlin Career (4AD). “Here it is, I think I got it wrong.” What’s wrong with it, she says, is that it’s not happy enough for a love song—in fact, pretty much the whole album is about romance, and there’s barely a sunny sentiment on it. Yet Campbell turns her sad stories—she seems to have a thing for unhappy people soldiering on in broken relationships—into infectious pop tunes, their melancholia blooming like a bed of tulips. Though Camera Obscura once seemed like Belle & Sebastian wannabes, they’ve come into their own—everything about the music is sweet and soft, but it’s not merely twee. Thick strings, nifty little guitar figures, and spry keyboards give the gorgeous melodies a quiet momentum and depth, and the detailed arrangements set off Campbell’s clear, smoldering voice like a diamond solitaire. Agent Ribbons open. —Peter Margasak

Price: $17.50

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