Camera Obscura-4AD Sessions EP


Back on April 19th I was a man on a mission. Record Store Day tends to bring out the primal brutality of humanity, so I made sure I was prepared with my list and a “stay out of my way” mentality. I had a short list this year: the Conor Oberst/Dawes split 7″, Childish Gambino’s Because The Internet, R.E.M. Unplugged, Springsteen’s American Beauty, and Camera Obscura’s 4AD Sessions. I ended up getting 4 out of 5, with the jerk in front of me grabbing the last Unplugged copy at the Reckless Records on Madison. I got home and immediately threw on the first record and listened to everything I’d bought. The Camera Obscura record stood out from the first song (of four), and it is definitely the one I can spin again and again without getting tired of it.

Recorded at Tron Theatre in Glasgow, it’s a live recording of four of the best tracks from their latest full-length, Desire Lines (#14 on my top 50 albums of 2013). The recording puts Tracyanne Campbell’s vocals way out front, which is exactly where they belong. The sessions took place right after the album was released, so the band was still super tight after their time in the studio. Kenny McKeeve’s guitar on “Every Weekday” is especially impressive as it shimmies and shakes all over the place, bouncing off Gavin Dunbar’s bass like a super ball.

My favorite track is the closer, “Fifth In Line To The Throne.” It feels a little less downtrodden in this live recording, Campbell’s voice effortlessly sailing through the calm wave of sound on the line “you treat me like a queen, but like a queen I don’t know when I’ll be slain.” 

The band will be here in Chicago this Friday night, July 25th, at Thalia Hall with Laura Cantrell. Tickets are still available here.

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