Camera Obscura’s ‘Troublemaker’ Video Cloaks Deep Angst in ’80s Sci-Fi
'Desire Lines' jangler holds more heartache than meets the eye
Morrissey once sang about “glass hidden in the grass.” Camera Obscura know just as well the power of luring listeners in with springy, approachable indie-pop, then slicing into them with keen emotional observations. The video for “Troublemaker,” one of multiple highlights from the Scottish band’s excellent new album Desire Lines, goes one step further. In the song, Tracyanne Campbell murmurs clearly about cool gazes after the TV goes off, a love-crushing call that’s “three years in,” and feeling “the fear.” When the track’s Tucker Martine-produced hearth-glow reaches its brightest and catchiest, she’s stoically insisting, “I fall down like a ton of bricks / What makes me sick won’t make me quit.”
The video, directed by recurring partner Blair Young and inspired by weird, low-budget ’80s U.K. sci-fi, adds another intriguing layer that makes the heartache all the more palpable once you get down to it. The stars of the “French Navy” video, from 2009’s My Maudlin Career, are there, and so are the band members themselves — including new mother Campbell, holding a beautiful baby. “It’s going to be one hell of a year” might be right, but Camera Obscura somehow always manage to rise above the myriad tiny (but rewarding!) struggles of daily life and turn them into thoroughly worthwhile art.