Pablos Choice – Record Of The Week – 25/05/2018 – Tracyanne & Danny
25th May 2018
Dont just take our word for it…heres what the critics are saying…
Tracyanne Campbell and Danny Coughlan are better known for their roles in other projects—the former in Scottish pop wonders Camera Obscura and the latter as a soulful British balladeer under the name Crybaby. But they’ll have you know that their first collaborative album Tracyanne & Danny will not be their last. “Tracyanne & Danny is not a diverting curio or a wee stop on the road to someplace else. It is a shared artistic aesthetic, forged over time,” says the duo’s official bio. “They have figured out how to fit round each other and work together, creating a rewarding musical synergy. There will be more songs.”
More songs is good news, because Tracyanne & Danny is a lovely listen from top to bottom. There are ambling indie-pop songs (“Deep In the Night”) and bittersweet orchestral numbers (“It Can’t Be Love Unless It Hurts”) and tunes that swing with an old soul (“Anybody Else” and “The Honeymooners”), with a few stops in between. The whole thing is as immaculately crafted and endearingly overcast as the Scottish countryside.
Between creative adventurousness and untold tragedy, Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell returns with a terrific new collaborative LP.
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.
After the death of their co-founder, Scottish band Camera Obscura can’t face re-forming, but singer Tracyanne Campbell is back – with help from Edwyn Collins
When the sumptuous, soul-warming sound of Tracyanne & Danny’s debut track Home and Dry dropped unexpectedly in February, fans experienced a twofold reaction: both joy and relief.
In October 2015, a rare form of bone cancer called osteosarcoma robbed the life of Glasgow indie pop band Camera Obscura’s keyboardist Carey Lander. That is the exact word Lander’s bandmate and best friend, singer-songwriter Tracyanne Campbell, uses three years on: robbed. “We were all robbed of Carey,” she laments sternly, angrily. “And the band was robbed of our job.”
A crowdfunding campaign launched by Lander in her final days went on to raise more than £102,000 for Sarcoma UK, bringing some tiny semblance of light to the tragedy. But after that there was only lingering sadness and silence, the group’s future left uncertain. Lander’s illness claimed the life of a much-loved and talented musician at just 33, but it also silenced a popular band in their prime.
True confession: Tracyanne Campbell is one of my favourite songwriters. Her knack for earwig melodies with intelligent, though not stuffy, intellectual lyrics is unsurpassed. So I’m sat here on her birthday, digging her new project with fellow singer/songwriter Danny Coughlan, late of Crybaby. Campbell provided some of the finest music I’ve enjoyed over the last decade fronting Glaswegian poppers Camera Obscura, but the tragic death of keyboardist Carey Lander from cancer in 2015 seems to have ended this brilliant band’s career. So it is a joy to hear her back in the studio. Their collaboration is manna from heaven for the CamObscurious, building on Tracyanne’s recent infatuation with country rock.
Opener ‘Home and Dry’ is tender, marshmallow pop that will delight obsessive fans of Spain’s Elefant stable (The Yearning spring to mind), not coincidentally Camera Obscura’s original home. If Tracyanne got any closer to the mic, she’d be licking your eardrums! The cha-cha sambo of ‘It Can’t Be Love Unless It Hurts’ adds a pop sheen to Morrissey’s mopey, maudlin misery (apparently a Crybaby specialty), with the pair’s musicologist tendencies tossing in the melody from The Cascades’ ‘Rhythm of The Rain’ for good measure! And there’s a not unexpected Nancy & Lee vibe to the bubbly, jazz-inflected ‘Deep In The Night’. A nice sax solo adds to the laidback mood.
Watch The Video For Alabama Below