Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Camera Obscura / Let's Get Out of This Country / Rating: 7.8

“Though they haven't changed much in the span of three terrific albums, Camera Obscura no longer recall Belle & Sebastian; they only sound like themselves.”

So does sounding like themselves mean The Concretes are copying Camera Obscura or do both bands just happen to sound like kissing cousins? Each band formed around the same time (mid 90’s) and they certainly love to replicate radio friendly 60’s girl group -hey la hey la- pop accessorized by hand claps, strings, and the occasional horn.

Maybe I should pose this question to Finnish producer Jari Haapalainen as he has worked with both of the bands in question here. He could easily be the guilty party.

Honestly I don’t care who did it first.

I generally like both bands but Camera Obscura do a better job of this darling cavity causing brand of cuddle-core. The problem is that both bands suffer from a mid-tempo disease that traps their best songs in the middle of a slow dance marathon. Don’t let the lead C.O. single “Lloyd, I’m ready…” fool you”, 75% of the record is otherwise a trip to sleepy-ville.

But the day I sculpt my hair into a beehive and crave a good waltz with a boy in a cardigan, I know what record to throw on.

In the meantime I will replay to death the more upbeat numbers like “I Need All the Friends I Can Get”, “If Looks Could Kill”, that cute little number I mentioned in the paragraph above, and I still look forward to getting my slow dance on at their live show in a few weeks. (Goodness what ever shall I wear? Saddle shoes and a skirt below my knee?)

PFM does not offer a completely original take on the band (everybody in the press writes about the Belle and Sebastian connection) but I will say after reading about 7 other reviews of the same record, Pitchfork’s version is better than most.

I would give Howe’s review a 7.8 and Camera Obscura a 6.8.