Tracyanne & Danny – Tracyanne & Danny

Between creative adventurousness and untold tragedy, Camera Obscura's Tracyanne Campbell returns with a terrific new collaborative LP

Album Review by Joe Goggins | 21 May 2018
  • Tracyanne & Danny - Tracyanne & Danny
Album title: Tracyanne & Danny
Artist: Tracyanne & Danny
Label: Merge
Release date: 25 May

A mixture of creative ambition and personal tragedy inspired this new collaborative effort from Tracyanne Campbell. She was first contacted by Danny Coughlan, best known as the mastermind behind the Bristol singer-songwriter effort Crybaby, shortly before she began work in earnest on Desire Lines, which may well prove to be the last album from the pop group she fronted – Glasgow indie icons Camera Obscura.

The songs that comprise Tracyanne & Danny were already in the process of being pieced together, painstakingly, between her Scotland and his Bristol when, in October of 2015, Camera Obscura keyboardist Carey Lander lost her battle with cancer. The band has been parked ever since, but after a period of uncertainty, a still-tentative Campbell chose to at least follow through on her commitments to Coughlan. The result is a sparkling pop effort, with Campbell bringing copious quantities of the old Obscura glitz to the likes of the swooningly romantic It Can’t Be Love Unless It Hurts, the jazzy Home & Dry and, most poignantly, to the undiluted Americana of Alabama, a direct tribute to Lander.

Not to be underestimated though is Coughlan’s contribution. Jacqueline is a sumptuously realised exercise in balladry, on which Campbell’s doo-wop backing vocals stand as proof postitive of her mastery of the light touch. Cellophane Girl, meanwhile, is one of the few moments on the record that we get the sort of shackles-off duet that the title suggests. The future of Camera Obscura remains uncertain, so we should take whatever creative outlet we can get from Campbell. On this basis, and despite terrible heartache, her talent remains undimmed.

Listen to: Alabama, It Can't Be Love Unless It Hurts, Cellophane Girl