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Underachievers Please Try Harder [Enhanced]

Camera Obscura Audio CD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 19.29 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Underachievers Please Try Harder + Desire Lines
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Product Details

1. Suspended from Class
2. Keep It Clean
3. A Sisters Social Agony
4. Teenager
5. Before You Cry
6. Your Picture
7. Number One Son
8. Let Me Go Home
9. Books Written for Girls
10. Knee Deep at the NPL
11. Lunar Sea
12. I Don't Want to See You
13. Footloose and Fancy Free
14. Teenager (Mpeg Video)

Product Description

Product Description

Japanese pressing of the indie-pop outfit's 2004 album includes four exclusive bonus tracks, 'I Don't Want To See You', 'Footloose & Fancy Free', 'SF Song', & 'Amigo Mio'. Digipak. Imperial.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Toothless, edgeless music devoid of dynamics. Jan. 25 2004
By D. Mok
Format:Audio CD
I never cared for Belle & Sebastian anyway, so the comparisons bear no relevance to my experience of this record. The album's title pretty much summarizes my feeling towards this album: It conveys one languishing, snail-paced, pervasive mood of melancholic boredom that gets tired incredibly quickly.
There *are* good moments in the songs: The nervous drumrolls and swelling guitar tone of "A Sister's Social Agony", the pretty acoustic picking and dreamy waltz beat of "Lunar Sea". But these are smothered against a prevailing mood of heaviness, and too much repetition renders the hooks ineffective. Camera Obscura's singers all sound somnambulic, like Julie Doiron with caffeine deficiency, or Dido with even less edge. Aside from male/female differences, I can't even tell one singer from another. It could be one, or it could be three different women; it doesn't matter, they all have the same problem, of not inhabiting the lead vocal, not committing to what they're singing, content with just speaking the notes as if that were enough to grab our attention. This kind of voice can work if your songs are fantastic (eg. Doiron's work with The Wooden Stars), but Camera Obscura's melodies are repetitive, resolve unsatisfactorily, and just don't bear even a second listen. One listen through this record and you've heard it all.
This band doesn't seem to know how to make music outside of its very narrow confines. If the singers can expand their vocal ranges even a little, the songs can be delivered with more conviction. Take your own advice, Camera Obscura: "Underachievers, please try harder." And wake me up when you decide to actually commit something -- soul, blood, passion, anything deeper -- to the songs.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Stuart Murdoch called and he wants his band back Jan. 22 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Wow, Stuart Murdoch, et al from Belle and Sebastian should sue these wannabe's for every cent they make from this record, because it's clear from the first few notes of "Underachievers" that Camera Obscura's sound is not their own. This is B&S by numbers, from how the singer sings, to the lyrics, to the structure of the songs, to the instruments used, to the freaking album cover. The musicians in Camera Obscura are pretty good; it's too bad their band is a total ripoff of another Scottish group who pretty much owns the patent on the sound being replicated here, and who do it better too. I'm really quite shocked that this CD even got made. Someone should have stopped Camera Obscura somewhere during the creation of this album and said, "Hey guys, this sounds great but Belle and Sebastian already exists."
Oh, and the one outlier on the CD, "Your Picture".... hmmm, Leonard Cohen, anyone??...
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3.0 out of 5 stars it's pretty good, but let's be honest... Jan. 25 2004
Format:Audio CD
The guy who was saying 'Stuart Called' has a point, except I will take it one step further...Nick Drake called from the dead. He wants Neil Halstead & Belle & Sebastian to at least release one original record without ripping off "Bryter Layter." Of course, I don't think these are bad tribute records, and it is hard to bring new concepts to the table when you have solid passions for other artists you add your own twist to...I just can't blame Murdock or Halstead, and much less Camera Obscura. It sounds like they at least like what they are doing, not forced. Underachievers has a chance to be the biggest offshoot from the B&S camp. It sounds good.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for B&S fans, but for pop music fans April 8 2004
Format:Audio CD
Though I am a big B&S fan, I did not discover Camera Obscura through them. Here is the story:
I was in my favorite little independent video store in North Oxford, when Tracyann Campbell's voice stopped me dead in my tracks. I pointed up and asked the clerk, "What the hell band is this?" He told me who it was and I immediately rushed out to buy this album.
Yeah, okay, the Glasgow indie scene is crowded with boy/girl bands, but what I believe sets Camera Obscura apart is their ability to synthsize years of pop music into one album (see: "Let Me Go Home") and to do it with a lead singer whose voice just makes you want to cry.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Some solid songs, some... well... Feb. 3 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Okay, so Belle & Sebastian can't put out nearly as many albums as I'd like them to (about one every six months would be best). Camera Obscura isn't quite as slavish an imitator as other reviews would have it, but they're at their best when they "cover" B&S. Some of the songs on this CD, though, are just wretched ("A Sister's Social Agony," "Teenager," "Before You Cry"); it's a good thing they invented the "next track" command. However, when they're good, they're pretty damned good. Overall, I'd recommend this CD, but just know that there's a big dead chunk o' real estate in the middle.
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3.0 out of 5 stars history 101 Feb. 9 2004
Format:Audio CD
people do need to remember that B&S themselves owe a huge debt to Scottish musicians such as Donovan, as well as bands such as Love (from whom they got massive amounts of musical ideas, i.e. every horn arrangement they've done) in terms of sound and structure. that doesn't make them derivative, however. just more in a long line of excellent quietish chamber pop bands from the British Isles. that said, i agree with both sides, really. there are flashes of brilliance here, but at the same time it can get a bit too B&Sy for its own good. so, not a masterpiece, but not a complete waste, either.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Camera Obscura, Please Try Harder
This is a marvolous album, but having head Camera Obscura's debut LP, Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi, i'm just a little bit dissapointed. Read more
Published on June 22 2004 by allie
5.0 out of 5 stars There are worse things than B&S similarities
Pop folk existed before Belle & Sebastian. We Five did it 30+ years ago. Who cares? It's catchy, it's fun, breezy & great to listen to while you drive around. Read more
Published on May 22 2004 by Alvie
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of 2004...so far!
I too love Belle and Sebastian and look forward to seeing them on tour. However, I also adore this album and actually prefer it to Dear Catastrophe Waitress. Read more
Published on Feb. 23 2004 by Troy W. Sterk
2.0 out of 5 stars No Don't Try
I was all excited for a new Camera Obscura release. Then I found out it wasn't the right Camerca Obscura. What can I say? This album just doesn't do it for me. Read more
Published on Feb. 19 2004 by Jacob Oliver
4.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous Chamber Pop
The gorgeous chamber pop of Camera Obscura is going to be compared, rightly so, to Belle & Sebastian, and I don't think the band is going to care. Read more
Published on Feb. 6 2004 by WrtnWrd
4.0 out of 5 stars C'mon, be sweet
Belle & Sebastian aren't the only soft rockers around - folks need to lighten up. This isn't a perfect album. It's pleasant enough however. Read more
Published on Feb. 3 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars C.O. renews my faith in indiepop
OK, so if you don't like twee indiepop, you probably wouldn't like Underachievers Please Try Harder, but if Belle & Sebastian or Sarah Records mean anything to you, you'll love... Read more
Published on Feb. 3 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars none
well since this scottish band consists of friends/cohorts of belle and sebastian and mr stuart murdoch himself took the picture that graces this lovely album's cover, the... Read more
Published on Jan. 22 2004
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