Desire Lines

Camera Obscura - Desire Lines
Critic Score
Based on 28 reviews
2013 Ratings: #313 / 1039
User Score
Based on 64 ratings
2013 Ratings: #236
June 4, 2013 / Release Date
LP / Format
4AD / Label
Indie Pop / Genres
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Drowned in Sound

Thoughtful and sardonic, this band have once again showed themselves to be one of Glasgow’s great bands, and this record is another perfect gem in their catalogue.


Desire Lines is another superbly crafted album, well worth the wait. Her songs return to some familiar themes, but she hasn’t come close to exhausting her melancholic muse yet, and the band’s arrangements are, as always, filled with surprise.

The Line of Best Fit

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.

Pretty Much Amazing

Camera Obscura are old enough to know what they’re are capable of, and they do it passionately and with a practiced hand.

Under The Radar

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.


Desire Lines has a similar feel of a band bounding out of the gates with a renewed creative energy. Here it results in some of their best and most confident work to date.


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.

Consequence of Sound

With little (if anything) to fret about, Desire Lines is as breathtaking as its inviting. They’ve honed their brutally honest and quirky take on heartbreak into something they can now wield with delightful precision.

No Ripcord

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.


Camera Obscura's more overtly cutesy lyrical or orchestral touches are mostly pared back here, but in a way that gets closer to the group's essence rather than blunts it.


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.

Beats Per Minute

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.

A.V. Club

Desire Lines is the rare record that sounds comfortable and familiar, but yet isn’t derivative.


'Desire Lines' successes are due to its occupation of the same space as its fantastic forerunner – and its failures emerge for the very same reason.


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. 

Undoubtedly one of the best indie pop bands of the 2000s, each of the excellent first four Camera Obscura albums saw the band progressively expand and refine their sound and ambitions. On “Desire Lines” — their fifth and most recent album — Camera Obscura scale back from the orchestral heights of “My Maudlin Career” to make songs that register as quieter, bittersweet, and more introspective. “Desire Lines” lacks any sort of standout track like ... read more
Favorite tracks:
This Is Love (Feels Alright), Troublemaker, Fifth In Line To The Throne (10)

Rated on: April 4, 2020
Worth a listen
Lyrically and sonically beautiful
Although the melodies have grown old and seems to have lost part of their flexibility,there's still that sparkle that shines
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Year End Lists

#10/Under the Radar

Track List

  1. Intro
  2. This Is Love (Feels Alright)
  3. Troublemaker
  4. William's Heart
  5. New Year's Resolution
  6. Do It Again
  7. Cri Du Coeur
  8. Every Weekday
  9. Fifth In Line To The Throne
  10. I Missed Your Party
  11. Break It to You Gently
  12. Desire Lines
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Added on: February 28, 2013