Desire Lines

  • Record Label: 4AD
  • Release Date: Jun 4, 2013

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
Buy On
  1. Jun 4, 2013
    Here it results in some of their best and most confident work to date.
  2. May 30, 2013
    This is pop music with a real soul to it, and Camera Obscura have bared it magnificently.
  3. Jun 4, 2013
    The result is the purest late-night album that Camera Obscura has recorded yet.
  4. 85
    Desire Lines is another gorgeously-crafted pop record from a band that make them look easy; melody, harmony and sophistication are all present in abundance.
  5. 83
    Camera Obscura are old enough to know what they’re are capable of, and they do it passionately and with a practiced hand.
  6. Mojo
    Jul 10, 2013
    Desire Lines is the immaculately conceived album they've always threatened to make. [Aug 2013, p.92]
  7. Q Magazine
    Jun 17, 2013
    In upbeat pop mode, the quintet are impressive, but when slipping downtempo into ballads, Camera Obscura are in a league of their own. [Jul 2013, p.100]
  8. Jun 13, 2013
    Desire Lines sits with remarkable ease next to Camera Obscura albums released a decade ago.
  9. Jun 5, 2013
    It’s lyrically strong and musically tight--even as it drifts and frolics as easily as kite.
  10. 80
    With little (if anything) to fret about, Desire Lines is as breathtaking as its inviting.
  11. Jun 4, 2013
    Campbell’s resplendent tone delights with the plaintive cry of classic torch singers; instead or feeling pity or sympathy, we’re now in the presence of a commanding performer who doesn’t have to sacrifice an inch of naiveté to make an impression.
  12. Jun 3, 2013
    Desire Lines refurbishes '50s pop, turning it into modern classics filled with unabashedly lovely melodies, just the way Camera Obscura want it, and just what we've come to expect, and love, about them.
  13. Jun 3, 2013
    Throughout, the record oozes an elegant stream of sophistication and songwriting nous, backed up by a rich, clearly well-thought out and measured Tucker Martine production.
  14. 80
    There aren’t many groups whose fifth album is as riveting as their first, but there also aren’t many groups with a vision as clear, focused and defined as that of Camera Obscura. And with Campbell at the helm, five more of the same will be just as welcome.
  15. May 31, 2013
    More so than any other Camera Obscura record, Desire Lines taps into a girl group aesthetic--that is, lushly arranged songs about scorned lovers and keeping hope alive, always with a bit of advice thrown in, or at the very least a lesson learned.
  16. May 30, 2013
    What feels different this time is the elegance and assurance of the music.
  17. Uncut
    May 30, 2013
    CO's fifth album clothes Campbell's vignettes of thwarted romance in increasingly sophisticated arrangements. [Jul 2013, p.72]
  18. Sep 5, 2013
    Camera Obscura's done it again.
  19. Jun 4, 2013
    It isn’t business as usual, either; these songs sound grander without losing their quaintness and some tread unfamiliar ground.
  20. Jun 7, 2013
    More deeply satisfying than extraordinary, it seems unlikely to displace anyone's favorite Camera Obscura record, but neither is it a negligible entry in one of the smartest and most loveable discographies in contemporary indie-pop.
  21. Desire Lines is undoubtedly a Camera Obscura album, but it might be their first that is more suited to quiet winter nights inside, rather than the sunny side of things that dominated their sound on their previous albums.
  22. Jun 4, 2013
    The album also has a few sleepy spots (“New Year’s Resolution,” “I Missed Your Party”), which causes it to drag on occasion. Still, Desire Lines is the rare record that sounds comfortable and familiar, but yet isn’t derivative.
  23. Jun 5, 2013
    Desire Lines is a silver lining record, one that isn’t particularly compelling (especially relative to My Maudlin Career, which felt like new emotional territory for the band), but is impressively maintained.
  24. Jun 3, 2013
    By no means their best effort, Desire Lines is nevertheless a pleasurable listen.
  25. Desire Lines lacks the hooks of their best work, with no obvious hits.
  26. 60
    Produced in understated manner by Tucker Martine, the songs' clean pop lines are revealed with the minimum of decorative detail.
  27. May 30, 2013
    This is at once an enjoyable effort and an opportunity missed.
  28. Jun 6, 2013
    Yet even Campbell can’t save Desire Lines from coming off as creatively stagnant, just as pretty as ever but overwhelmingly pedestrian.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 10 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Jun 5, 2013
    If you know anything about this band, you will love this cd. They just keep building on what they do best- providing music to the heart andIf you know anything about this band, you will love this cd. They just keep building on what they do best- providing music to the heart and soul. Tracyanne continues to write such heartfelt music and the production continues to reflect an era past, but is so current as well. I love this band! Full Review »