Posted on Monday, August 12, 2013 by shoshanalibrarian
This year, two of my favorite bands released new albums, and I have just now gotten around to listening to them. Camera Obscura first came to my attention about 10 years ago with their 2nd album, Underachievers Please Try Harder. Their catchy tunes and soft delivery reminded me of a female version of fellow Scots Belle & Sebastian. With each subsequent release, Camera Obscura becomes more polished and sophisticated. Desire Lines continues the trend with its lush orchestration and fancy production value. This outing is more subdued than usual, with more ballads and fewer catchy pop songs. My favorite song on the album is "Troublemaker," though it goes on about a minute too long. Overall, I still get the warm fuzzies when listening to Desire Lines, but I still prefer the naivete and poppiness of their early albums.
The Flaming Lips are kind of hard to describe, and The Terror hasn't made it any easier. It's the kind of album that really should be listened to straight through. It is in many ways one long song; each track progresses from the ending of the previous one; it is actually difficult to discern when one song ends and the next begins. This is not a bad thing; it comes together so beautifully that to only listen to one song leaves one feeling incomplete. This album represents a considerable departure for The Flaming Lips. In previous albums, you get an overarching sense of joy and optimism; an ebullience for life. The Terror, as its name suggests, is considerably darker, with droning distortion and strange, ethereal vocals. Lead vocalist Wayne Coyne explains this shift as follows: "We want, or wanted, to believe that without love we would disappear, that love, somehow, would save us that, yeah, if we have love, give love and know love, we are truly alive and if there is no love, there would be no life. The Terror is, we know now, that even without love, life goes on... we just go on… there is no mercy killing." The Terror left me feeling somewhat unsettled; it is beautiful, and odd, and sad. It's kind of like life that way.
Tagged: Camera Obscura, the flaming lips, Music, Music and Movies