Scottish indie pop band Camera Obscura’s glorious pop sensibilities may have reached their apex on the group’s last album, My Maudlin Career. It seemed the band was poised to hit pop gold from there on out, but now four years later, the band’s follow-up Desire Lines, well, leaves much to be desired.
Don’t get me wrong, this is still a very “nice” album. It’s not that the arrangements don’t have a smooth shine, or that Tracyanne Campbell’s voice is any less charming, but for a pop album there is a surprising lack of hooks or interesting melodies.
A great many of the songs are strummy and mid-tempo, failing to leave much of an impression right away (compared with just the first five songs from the first album). But at least most of the songs are breezy and cool, as on “Troublemaker” and the livin’-the-dream “Every Weekday,” “Do It Again” is spirited and up-tempo, and “Fifth In Line to the Throne” is a heartbreaking, waltzy slow dance.
So there you have it; it’s all perfectly pleasant. And maybe that’s just fine and dandy. But many of the songs here sound a bit too by-the-numbers, with slightly too few definable, memorable hooks to make Desire Lines more than just OK.