Sunday, September 24, 2006

Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country

When a guy wearing a plastic sword-shaped cocktail skewer as an earring, with the fingernails on one hand painted black and the those on the other natural colored, tells you an album is worth a listen, it's worth the try, right?

In my book anyway. What's more interesting is that this guy and NPR agree.

So do I. The album is definitely worth a listen.

When I first listen to a band I know nothing about, I tend to make comparisons to other bands. So when I first popped this one, I thought "the Shins, but with a female vocalist." On the next track however, I was thinking "the Beach Boys?" And I went through the Strokes, Over the Rhine...nothing fit. Because these guys are unique. Sure, they have elements of all those bands, but it's always a "not quite...ooooh, I like what they did there, how unexpected" kind of reaction. The summary I keep coming back to is that of 50's pop instruments (organ, guitar with that era of amplification, etc.) with a modern melody and edge. By the way, it probably shows that I'm not a real music critic in that I have no idea what "that era of amplification" means, hardware-wise. Gibson? Les Paul? No idea. Anyone who does, please, let me know.

Though I wouldn't describe the songs as "anthemic," they are largely melody driven, something I like because it is fun to listen to. The lyrics are fitting, but not stand out. But everyone can identify with songs about heartbreak and partings. "The first track here states over and over "Hey Lloyd, I'm ready to be heartbroken" which is a response to a pop song from twenty years ago asking (go figure) "are you ready to be heartbroken?" Tracy's voice is perfect here, quavering but still earnest. Though I can't pick favorites here, a counterpoint to that track is "Country Miles" with the refrain "I won't be seeing you for a long while/but I hope it's not as long as these country miles" where the earnestness in Tracyann's voice lends a poignant air to the song. No real downside to the album, in that I don't notice myself skipping tracks as I listen.

A fun listen, one I'll be keeping around for a while. Recommended.

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