To the sound of `Donald where`s yer troosers?` blaring over the PA system Camera Obscura, fronted by the demure Tracyanne Campbell complete with her pale doll-like pussy bow dress & bizarrely motionless bowl-cut hairdo, take the stage of Glasgow`s ABC for the last date of their UK tour. It is befitting that it should be in their hometown. We are eased in gently to their charming set by beginning on the whimsical little number `Come Back Margaret.` There is an air of detached indifference on the faces of Tracyanne & the only other female in the band, Carey Lander, keyboards & backing vocals. The audience also seem reluctant to appear excited. The rest of the ensemble seem somewhat out of place. Older men in suits who look like they could be pals with my dad & are only doing this for a bit of extra cash, with the exception of the drummer who appears to be on loan from Erasure for the evening.
The bulk of the set consists of songs from their most recent album. Sugar coated indie-pop with a 60`s girl-group feel concerned with the age old theme of love. They perform the current single `Tears for Affairs` with an awkward yet comforting plug at the beginning, as none of the band appear to be aware of the official release date. It`s followed by the beautifully upbeat & twee `Let`s Get Out of this Country.` Here Tracyanne, to the audience`s delight, seamlessly slips the lyrics to Paul Simon`s `You Can Call Me Al` into the final chorus. Her gorgeous mellifluous voice is pure perfection. It is not long before we can see that Camera Obscura are not indifferent to their audience, they are merely coy & content (almost playing hard to get), but then the shimmery delicate tunes they have created wouldn`t be suited to any other kind of attitude. It`s not long before myself & those around me are hooked into the wistful music & sweet vocals. By the time we finally hear the divine bittersweet `Hey Lloyd, I`m Ready to Be Heartbroken` & `If Looks Could Kill` the crowd have come to life & all the boys in square glasses & checked shirts & girls in tights & chintzy dresses are bobbing their heads, swaying & raggy-doll dancing until their hearts are content. We are brought down to a more sombre mood with the distinctly Scandinavian sounding `Country Mile,` in which Traceyanne finally breaks a smile as she forgets the words to the chorus. Her hair still hasn`t moved though. Under the bright lights & through all the guitar changes, sweeping violins & constant accordion-esque keyboard Camera Obscura don`t even break a sweat. But then gorgeous uplifting tear-stained pop doesn`t require much movement does it?
I didn`t expect much from tonight. In fact I thought I would be slightly bored & recalling Belle & Sebastian for the most part. But something strange happened. I was enchanted. If this gig was a person I would want to hug it then keep it close to me in my pocket forever.