This little-known Scottish group has made a beautiful album of melancholy pop with "Let's Get Out Of This Country." It's one of the freshest and most exciting new discs I've heard in a while.
Lead singer/songwriter Tracyanne Campbell's vocal range may not be huge, but she sings with passion and a sort of languid power over dense, 60's inspired soundscapes with production heavily reminiscent of the famous Phil Spector "Wall Of Sound." That is to say, a lot of echo and reverb, not to mention unusual instrumentation and arrangements with a heavy early to mid-sixties feel.
Most of the numbers are mid-tempo, but I think Camera Obscura really shines on their faster numbers, such as the Cardigans-esque "Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken" and "If Looks Could Kill," the latter of which is a very rousing mod throwback to 60's girl groups, Carnaby Street, Swinging London, Pet Clark, Sandie Shaw, Cilla Black, etc., with drumming that rivals Iggy Pop's "Lust For Life" for bombast.
And the slower numbers are beautiful as well. The group shows a lot of 'range' here, with the countryish sounds of "Dory Previn", the lounge-y "Tears For Affairs", and the epic, movie soundtrack sounding "Country Mile' (the title suits the track very well.) The closing track, "Razzle Dazzle Rose", is absolutely fantastic, especially the last minute or so, where the song morphs from a breezy bounce into a prolonged, amazingly slow, Spanish Bullfighter Brass section. At that point, I'm not sure *what* to call the music I'm hearing, but I like it...
A final note I wanted to add is that while historically singers from England and Scotland have tried to "Americanize" their accents somewhat (as in Joe Jackson, etc.), Campbell lets her Scots accent come through very well. Although the words are easily understandable, her vowels are a lot of fun! If you like strong melodies, unique arrangements, and that wistful Scots sound, you'll enjoy this one. ;oD