My Maudlin Career

  • Record Label: 4AD
  • Release Date: Apr 21, 2009

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. My Maudlin Career is the kind of record that exists to reward those both mad, and sad, in love.
  2. Occasionally shrouded in sadness but with happiness always beating from its core, My Maudlin Career lays bare the sweet melancholy of love.
  3. It’s an infectious album that blooms repeatedly throughout, unfolding in muted, endearing aural hues; simultaneously sad and celebratory, and always charming.
  4. Maturity is a central concept to Camera Obscura--Campbell's found it in her singing, but in her lyrics, the search continues. The asymmetries in her personality give her songs their distinct character.
  5. Clever, catchy, and moody, Maudlin Career is what contemporary pop music should be. It is wholly as satisfying as Campbell is unsatisfied.
  6. Filter
    The echo-chamber drums and forlorn strings crescendos that epitomize Camera Obscura's discography blossom on standouts like the Ronettes-like single 'French Navy,' country-rocker 'Forest And Sands,' and full-band travelogue pouter 'The Sweetest Thing.' [Spring 2009, p.100]
  7. If My Maudlin Career falls a tiny bit short of "Let's Get Out of This Country," and it does, it's only because that album was so wonderful.
  8. This, their fourth album, feels like a breakthrough, more polished and poised to build on cult 2006 single 'Lloyd, Are You Ready to Be Heartbroken?'
  9. The band’s finest work, My Maudlin Career continues the pop rush we’ve come to expect from Camera Obscura but also develops the band’s sound and identity in significant ways.
  10. The result is a flawless blend of sunny pop, Motown, blues and jazz with the cleanest production in Camera Obscura's catalog.
  11. My Maudlin Career offers soul and sophistication in abundance.
  12. My Maudlin Career is a wonderful set of songs and can deservedly sit alongside Let’s Get Out Of This Country while showcasing how far Camera Obscura have come since their patchy yet charming début, Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi.
  13. Mojo
    Her Dusty-meetsNancy tones glide as imperiously over violin-caressed opener 'French Navy' as on lustrous indie-country upgrade 'You Told A Lie,' reaching sublime lvels of heartache on the Spectoresque title track. [Jun 2009, p.109]
  14. Q Magazine
    Campbell's gorgeous, heartbreaking and--well--maudlin songs deserve to be heard by an audience far wider than Camera Obscura's current cult- indie-pop devoteees. [Jun 2009, p.119]
  15. As a unit, the group amassed some of the best music of their careers onto this singular, ‘effusively sentimental,’ career.
  16. My Maudlin Career is just such a uniformly endearing record. It’s sentimental, yes, but pleasantly so, charming in its own little way.
  17. Over the course of one great LP (2004’s "Underachievers Please Try Harder"), one pretty great one (2006’s "Let’s Get Out of This Country"), and now My Maudlin Career, Camera Obscura have arrived at a sound centered on Campbell’s self-reflective loneliness and their lifting of all the best of ‘60s music--a sound they own by themselves.
  18. It's the musical equivalent of the death of Bambi's mother: exquisitely rendered, but, once experienced for the first time, you need to steel yourself for subsequent visits.
  19. Luckily, for both the album and its audience, the band's perseverance results in hits more often than misses.
  20. 70
    On their fourth album, this Scottish indie-pop band's fondness for woeful heartache and Phil Spector–esque production reaches a poignant peak.
  21. My Maudlin Career may not be the kind of album that breaks new ground or does anything particularly forward-looking musically, but what it lacks in that department it more than makes up for with intelligent pop hooks and some of the loveliest string arrangements of recent memory.
  22. Under The Radar
    While the twinkling piano of the title track illustrates the sort of contained feeling that reminds us why the bar was set so high to begin with. Only the dull 'Careless Love' and unnecessary album closer 'Honey In The Sun' detract. [Spring 2009, p.65]
  23. Alternative Press
    It might sound formulaic, if it weren't so gorgeous. [Jun 2009, p.102]
  24. The songs work best when the band sticks to the balsa-wood wall of sound formula; they get into a spot of trouble when trying something different.
  25. Uncut
    Nothing is a strong as 'Hey Lloyd...' and Traceyanne Campbell's lachrymose croon is struggling to find new melodies, but on tracks like 'French Navy' and 'Honey In The Sun,' CO remain heartbreakingly lucid. [May 2009, p.80]

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 27 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Feb 14, 2013
    This is the album that exposed me to Camera Obscura, and I must admit, I love some these tracks on this album. The opener "French Navy" is oneThis is the album that exposed me to Camera Obscura, and I must admit, I love some these tracks on this album. The opener "French Navy" is one of the best indie pop openers I've ever heard. The vocals are gentle and cute in the most harmonic way. The whole record sounds like this girl that has just discovered love and can't get enough of it. All In All, the lyrics are very joyous and the production very crisp. Camera Obscura are a great indie pop band, and indie pop's not really my forte. Full Review »
  2. JamesB
    Jul 16, 2009
    Pure unbridled bliss! So melodic, so beautifully sad, so absolutely awesome!
  3. smithsgirl
    May 19, 2009
    This is a great album, make no mistake, yet it doesn't quite reach the dizzying and beautiful heights of Underachievers or Let's This is a great album, make no mistake, yet it doesn't quite reach the dizzying and beautiful heights of Underachievers or Let's Get Out. Nor quite have the immediacy of those two albums. Still if it's the album which gives them their deserved and long overdue breakthrough, I'm not complaining. If My Maudlin Career is your first foray into Camera Obscura, check out their earlier stuff, it will delight you even more. Full Review »