Gig review: Camera Obscura, Edinburgh

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“WE’RE gonna play a lot of songs from the new album, hope you don’t mind,” announced Camera Obscura singer Tracyanne Campbell. “I like the new album,” came a polite response from the crowd. “Good, that’s one person,” the singer chimed.

Camera Obscura - Liquid Room, Edinburgh

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It was an aptly amiable start, if also one self-deprecating on Campbell’s part. This was a very sold-out, very sweaty tour opener, and many more such sell-outs should follow, judging by the acclaim met out to the Glaswegians’ fifth album Desire Lines. It’s a set as strong as anything they’ve produced across near two decades as a force at the sweeping, sensitive end of British guitar pop.

Among many new additions to the set, Do It Again and the distinctly early-80s Springsteen-esque Break It To You Gently were as classically tuneful as anything any of their peers are penning right now, if perhaps not necessarily as showily performed. If you’ve been following Camera Obscura this long, you’ll know to not exactly come to their shows expecting pyrotechnics and scissor-kicks – not least now, when their frontwoman is heavily pregnant – and indeed a typical spirit of almost anti-grandstanding did reign. This Is Love (Feels Alright) saw guitarist Kenny McKeeve hang fire on his six-string to instead rock a mean triangle.

But there was no getting away from just how stylishly Camera Obscura write them, as the encore yielded the Lloyd Cole-referencing yearn of Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken, the sumptuous French Navy, and elegant Mariachi-trumpet adorned closer Razzle Dazzle Rose. Enough to leave us all feeling sufficiently razzled, if not necessarily dazzled.