The stellar new album from Glasgow's spectacular pop sextet was influenced by a wide variety of heroes: Jimmy Webb, Lloyd Cole, Connie Francis, Skeeter Davis, The Supremes, and David Lynch. Decidedly upbeat and catchy while also beautifully romantic, quiet, and reflective, this record does not disappoint. The LP includes a coupon for a free MP3 download of "Let's Get Out Of This Country".
Literate, recombinant indie-pop doesn't get much better than Scottish act Camera Obscura. And Let's Get Out of This Country
, their third album, is easily their best yet. The male-female vocals of their first two albums are gone, as John Henderson's left the band. But as the album was recorded in Sweden with Jari Haapalainen, the dude who helped the Concretes achieve their Spector-ish, candy-coated sheen, the same charms are at work here. "Dory Previn" is a slow country rocker that recalls the pastoral sound of the sorely-missed band Opal, while other songs are more organ-driven and rollicking. Lead singer-songwriter Tracyanne Campbell's lyrics are smart, wonderful, and direct ("You can't see that you're the same as all the stupid people that you hate / I'm not saying I'm free from blame because I need all the friends I can get"). This is orchestral pop that's immaculately produced and fun as hell, even though the protagonists of the songs readily, almost selflessly dive into the sloppiest of romantic situations ("I've got my life of complication here to sort out"). --Mike McGonigal