Thursday, July 27, 2006

TBS Recommended: Camera Obscura- Let's Get Out Of This Country

So you're in a pleasant yet unassuming indie pop band, and you get together and make music and put it out and see what happens. Turns out that the music you are making sounds really similar to another pleasant yet unassuming indie pop band, who just happen to have come along years before you and monopolized the sound you're going for and have become untouchable and cannonized in the eyes of critics. So what do you do? You mix your pleasant yet unassuming indie pop with an awesome pseudo-classic pop/Motown aesthetic and recording style and release a far superior album than your cannonized peers' recent effort.

If you haven't gotten the point yet, here it is: Camera Obscura have always been pegged as a poor man's Belle And Sebastian, and rightfully so. The whole fey, precious UK indie pop thing has been done before, many times. But with Let's Get Out Of This Country, the band successfully mixes some of their most heartbroken songwriting with a classic instrumentation and production aesthetic and released one of the better albums of 2006.

Lyrically and mood-wise, this is like the poppy female counter-point to Ryan Adams' Heartbreaker. Tears and/or heartbreak are mentioned no less than 352 times, and lead singer Tracyanne Campbell's lonesome musings sound right at home underneath the layers of strings and horns. While the lyrics toe the line between earnest and emo, Campbell has a way of always coming out on the endearing side. She is a lost, hurt little girl in a 20-something's body, attempting to relocate (hence the title track) to leave behind a lost love and broken heart, and you can't help but find her appealing.

On so many levels (earnest lyrics, classic pop production) this album could have failed, just coming off as silly. In the hands of lesser bands, this album wouldn't have worked. But these folks pull it off beautifully. Soft and endearing, yet with more songwriting substance than much of the indie pop out there. Excellent album.

Camera Obscura- Hey Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken

Camera Obscura- Dory Previn

Previous TBS Recommendations:

Destroyer- Destroyer's Rubies

Neko Case- Fox Confessor Brings The Flood

Liars- Drum's Not Dead

The Walkmen- A Hundred Miles Off

TV On The Radio- Return To Cookie Mountain


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