Scrolling Headlines:

UMass hockey can’t take advantage of strong start in 6-1 loss to Boston College -

January 21, 2017

High-powered Eagles soar past UMass -

January 21, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Kilted Lovers Bring Scotch (pop) to Pearl Street

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(Courtesy myspace.com)

Glasgow-based indie pop group Camera Obscura will bring their melodic melancholy to the Pearl Street Ballroom tonight. Formed back in 1996  by unassuming frontwoman Tracyanne Campbell, Camera Obscura did not record an album until 2001. The band has been steadily building buzz ever since their debut, “Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi,” hit the scene.

Featuring the same folk influence, sad-eyed spaciness and big orchestration of their previous works, Camera Obscura’s fourth album, “My Maudlin Career,” links the band even more to the sound of 60s girl groups. Heart-wrenching string melodies abound on the album, which was released in April, with modern indie flourishes like the now-commonplace glockenspiel. Campbell’s sweet, subtly accented vocals tell stories of either unrequited or disappointing love, often with a sardonic edge that makes all the sweetness taste a little saccharin.

But the saccharin is genuine. It tastes like a frustration with her own role in the musical melodrama she’s composed. The unabashedly romantic harmonies contrast splendidly with her often bitter lyrics. The music video for “Hey Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken,” the opening track from their third album, “Let’s Get Out of this Country,” switched between static shots of Campbell’s slooping pout and a pair of dancers moving dynamically through a colorful shopping wonderland. The music correspondingly yearns as a soap opera organ interjects sorrowful interludes.

Camera Obscura somehow manages to present all of this weepy sweetness while remaining consistently fun to listen to. The arrangements are all tight, simple and effective, and the production is big and heavy on the reverb. The music may be a comment on the blandness of pop music love, but it is still the visceral and emotional experience it ought to be. The cloying sense of insincerity is betrayed by a beautifully lush sound, structured cleverly and concisely.

And, perhaps since Campbell’s compositions are so perfectly simple in structure, Camera Obscura’s live performances tend not to deviate too far from the studio recordings. So there will be no noisy freak-outs or self-indulgent feedback to be found here – nothing but the good stuff.

Opening for Camera Obscura will be Papercuts (all the way from San Francisco), who have an indie pop sensibility similar to the headliners. They are touring in support of their new album, “You Can Have What You Want, ” which has been drawing warm reviews and comparisons to Grizzly Bear and Beach House.

In an interview on ABC earlier this year, Tracyanne Campbell admitted to struggling with massive stage fright – so if you do go see the show tonight, try to be as nice as the music. Tickets are $18 at the door, which opens at 8:30 p.m.

Garth Brody can be reached at gbrody@student.umass.edu.

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