Music review: Camera Obscura, Barrowland, Glasgow

The good medicine of Tracyanne Campbell’s yearning voice remains a star attraction for Camera Obscura, writes Fiona Shepherd

Camera Obscura, Barrowland, Glasgow ***

“Thanks for selling out the Barrowlands,” beams Tracyanne Campbell, “not bad for a bunch of 50- year-olds”. Maybe so, but there was always going to be peak demand to see Camera Obscura on home turf, touring for the first time in a decade.

Nine years ago, they lost keyboard player Carey Lander to cancer and their continuation as a band was no sure thing. But if they were big feelings at being back in an old haunt, they were channelled into a mellow, subtle sound, like a cool, soothing drink at the end of a sultry day.

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The five-piece, supplemented by percussion and brass, eased into their comeback with new song Liberty Print, before drinking in the warm response to an old favourite, Let’s Get Out of This Country, a pivotal tune from a period in the mid-Noughties where Camera Obscura came into their own as a band.

Nearly 20 years on, the good medicine of Campbell’s yearning voice remains a star attraction, although trumpeter Robert Henderson almost stole the limelight at first appearance on Tears For Affairs, elegantly embellished by new recruit Donna Maciocia on keyboards.

Such is the quiet storm nature of current album Look to the East, Look to the West that some of the newer songs have yet to make a live impact but the country pop meets seventies bubblegum of Big Love and bittersweet singalong We’re Going to Make It in A Man’s World were gentle earworms.

French Navy was still everyone’s favourite colour, while lithe reply song Hey Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken cantered into a clapalong If Looks Could Kill. What was left to pull out for the encore but an unexpected guest appearance by Partick Thistle mascot Kingsley who swayed along to Razzle Dazzle Rose, as Henderson’s mariachi trumpet resonating soulfully through a big finish.

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