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My take on the tracks and album. "Lloyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken" - 3:49 As the comments rightly say this is in reply to Lloyd Cole's song 'Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken?'. I listened to a live set once where Lloyd Cole's family came to see Camera Obscura. Unfortunately the venue (America I think) wouldn't let them in as the children were too young. Think they ended up listening to it from behind a fire exit door. Anyway, I digress. The tune - when I first heard this track I thought the intro was a bit OTT and it did take a while to grow on me. However, now I often stick on in the car for a big loud sing song when i'm on my own. Definitely grows on you. Funky video - check You Tube. "Tears for Affairs" - 4:04 Nice chilled out tune. Not the best on the album but good to have on in the background. "Come Back Margaret" - 3:47 My other half loves this song. I am not as fond of it but doesn't mean it's bad. Again, quite a chilled tune and you will eventually find yourself singing along. "Dory Previn" - 4:16 Tracyanne (lead singer) is a big Dory Previn fan. I love this tune. Lovely sound and think Tracyanne's voice is really shown well on this track. She has a good sense of humour and I can totally relate to these. "The False Contender" - 3:38 Again another track to 'fill' the album. Lovely background sound but not in my top 3. "Let's Get Out of This Country" - 3:21 Love this tune and think it is probably one of the best known Camera Obscura tunes. Up beat tune and one to sing along to. "Country Mile" - 3:59 Tune from the Tesco advert but it's a sin that's what it will be known for. One of the most beautiful songs with a lovely sound. Think the background is the band had been on the road for ages and Tracyanne was missing someone special. Could move you to tears this tune - I think it's one of their best. "If Looks Could Kill" - 3:29 This is one of the tunes that gets everyone bopping and dancing at the gigs. Upbeat, cheery sound. "I Need All the Friends I Can Get" - 3:18 Again this is on my song list in the car. Good tune. "Razzle Dazzle Rose" - 5:28 I think this is one of Camera Obscura's best tunes and is definitely one of my favorites. Don't know if i'm influenced by the soppiness but I was sad to see the previous reviewer didn't think the same. When I came back from my first Obs gig I listened to this tune again and again. Make me sing, dance and smile. Love it, love it, love it. To finish - awesome band, good album but probably not their best. My favorite is Biggest Bluest Hi Fi but but have high hopes for their next album too. Give it a couple of listens and i'm sure you'll love them too.
They must be putting something in the water back home in Scotland, as there seems to be a glut of indie bands emerging from there. My most recent discovery is Camera Obscura. I bought their third and latest album Lets get Out of This Country after hearing the catchy title track repeatedly played on Six Music. The bands name comes from an optical device consisting of lenses that project images onto a screen without the use of a film. The most famous one is in Edinburgh but there are also ones in Kirriemuir and my hometown of Dumfries. Camera Obscura are a Scottish sextet fronted by Tracyanne Campbell who also plays guitar and is the main songwriter for the band. The rest of the band consists of * Carey Lander piano, organ, vocals * Kenny McKeeve guitar, mandolin, harmonica, vocals * Gavin Dunbar bass * Lee Thomson drums * Nigel Baillie trumpet, percussion The band can be compared to another Scottish favourite of mine Belle and Sebastian. They both seem to species in sweet melodies that are slightly fey and twee in parts and both share an ear for wonderful musical arraignments using a wide variety of instruments from guitars to horns and strings. Lets get out of ths Country is an album full of beautifully crafted bittersweet love songs. The album is a joy to have down to the very kitsch design of the CD cover and booklet which reminds me of 1960s and 70s wall paper patterns. The album gets off to a flying start with a lovely chinning organ that cuts into the upbeat guitar and string driven indie pop of Lloyd , Im Ready to be heartbroken . Im wondering who Lloyd is, but the song starts with the brilliant lyric He Said Ill protect you like you are the crown jewels. It seems to be about confusion over relationships. In contrast Tears for Affairs is a lovely bittersweet number about a girls reaction to hearing her partner has cheated on her. The feel of the song is more laid back and shuffling with a lovely organ lick. Like many of the songs it has a slight country feel just to confuse me even more. Come Back Margaret is one of my least favourite songs on the album but it does have a nice vibraphone effect on it. Fed up of girls in pretty dresses starts the next number Dory Previn The ode to the now deceased songwriter Dory Previn is a favourite of mine. This has a definite country feel to it as Campbells vocals are half Scottish, half Tennessee drawl and are accompanied by a steel guitar. The introduction e reminds me slightly of the introduction to Stand by Your Man. I adore the lyric I adore you dory Previn, turn you up to eleven till the bands ears bleed The False Contender starts off with a waltzing rhythm of accordion and bells to give it a slightly folk feel to it. Its an average length track but does seem to drag on a little bit, as the rhythm does not change It is back up-tempo for the title track Lets get Out of This Country. As stated this is the song that attracted me to the band. I think it is about escaping to an ideal place away from ones normal environment. I love the song, as it is just a sunny slice of indie pop with a catchy tune, gorgeous strings and sing along lyrics. Country Mile is very different to Lets get Out of the Country but I love it as just as much. The lament to lost love is a beautifully melancholic simple song that lets Campbells voice shine through., It has the most gorgeous string arrangement which really suits the vibe of the song. Like a yo-yo the album switches from slow wistful songs back up-tempo for If Looks Could Kill. It reminds me a bit of a Motown number (Jimmy Mack comes to mind). It is power pop with pounding drum I was not sure about the song at first. It sounded unpolished and a bit gragey. I felt it sounded a bit of a mess comported to some of the other songs. The vocal sort of slip about running words into each other. At times it sounds like it is at the wrong speed. I Need All the Friends I can get follows in a similar vein but is more successful as it is not so mixed and muddled. I love the lyric You cant see youre just the same as the stupid people you hate. Razzle Dazzle Rose winds up the album. The trumpet-dominated introduction seems to go on forever. The vocals are quite pretty and breathy but the song is a bit unmemorable and goes nowhere. I like this album. It is quite short only having 10 tracks but they are all quality tracks. It is not one jam packed full of hit singles but it is full of different textures, intestine musical arrangement s and pretty bittersweet songs about love lost. Camera Obscura are always going to be one of those bands who never quite make the big time but produce quality music. Camera Obscura are always going to be a little bit obscura. I bought my copy of Lets get Out of this Country for £9.50 on Amazon.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Lloyd I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken
2 Tears For Affairs
3 Come Back Margaret
4 Dory Previn
5 False Contender
6 Let's Get Out Of This Country
7 Country Mile
8 If Looks Could Kill
9 I Need All The Friends I Can Get
10 Razzle Dazzle Rose