Music

Camera Obscura: Lets Get Out of This Country

Camera Obscura picks up where it left off, with nary a drop in quality from its previous releases, and continuing to captivate the hearts of chamber pop fans all over the world.


Camera Obscura

Let's Get Out of This Country

Label: Merge
US Release Date: 2006-06-06
UK Release Date: 2006-06-05
iTunes affiliate
Amazon
iTunes

It seems that Tracyanne Campbell is everyone on the Internet's "secret" crush. Who knew cute vulnerability communicated through melodic pop could do it for so many people? Listening to any of Camera Obscura, new album included, it's actually really easy to see why. She's got this kind of lovable confusion that everyone in their 20s can relate to -- and she expresses it in shades of sweet harmony that makes any eager consumer of characteristic UK chamber pop flutter with excitement.

Let's Get Out of This Country is Camera Obscura's third album, the previous two both reaching the US in a double-wallop in 2004 after respective original release dates of 2002 and 2003 back in the UK. I guess all the rave reviews those two albums garnered in the States made an impact, because now we get to hear the new stuff just a day after it's released back home.

Jari Haapalainen, the man behind the Concretes and Nick Harcourt, produced the album, and the sound of both of those artists can be heard on Let's Get Out of This Country. Well, it's more of a suggestion than anything overt, because Campbell's songs still trill along with the same infectious sound, her lyrics still swell with the same vulnerability and sentiment. Her voice is country-tinged, with a charming accent and a sweet penchant for melody, and she wallows in the falls and swoops of her tunes, taking obvious pleasure in their pleasant arcs. On the best songs, these melodies are delicious -- the folky "Razzle Dazzle Rose", which closes the album, is a notable example, as Campbell's vocal line "Rose, I'm feeling older" echoes the French Horn line. At the end of the song, the instruments take over again, and the whole thing ascends into a shimmering tremble of sound.

These leisurely melodic lines communicate great confidence in the songwriting process, and show us a band that, if not changing their sound, is at least extremely comfortable with its craft. Contrast that with the regret and uncertainty of these songs' lyrics, and you get a Jens Lekman-type feeling of calm. That calm swirls around the center of "Country Mile"; the melody at the song's heart is full of space and emptiness. "I Need All the Friends I Can Get" is even more reminiscent of Lekman, with its throw-it-all-at-the-mic pop sensibility.

Still, tracks like folk-waltz "The False Contender" and the whispered bossa nova "Tears for Affairs" don't hit quite as hard as the songs that, as soon as you hear them, you know are going to be firm favourites. The most obvious of these is the title track, with its peppy pop melody and chugging guitars -- one listen and you're hooked. It's an almost perfect pop ditty, with the kind of sentiment ("What does this city have to offer me? / I just can't see") that most of us who have lived in large cities can easily relate to.

From the moment the organs swirl around the opening of "Lloyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken" you know what to expect from Let's Get Out of This Country: more of the sunny melodies of Camera Obscura's previous efforts. The collection of ten songs on this album are mostly solid, with some real pearlers and a few that pass you by -- but the band is so easy to listen to that you don't need to be an established fan. It's not difficult at all -- just listen to Tracyanne, and let her persuade you:

Let's hit the road dear friend of mine

Wave goodbye to our thankless jobs

We'll drive for miles maybe never turn off

We'll find a cathedral city

You can be handsome, I'll be pretty

7

Music

Books

Film

Recent
Books

'We're Not Here to Entertain' Is Not Here to Break the Cycle of Punk's Failures

Even as it irritates me, Kevin Mattson's We're Not Here to Entertain is worth reading because it has so much direct relevance to American punks operating today.

Film

Uncensored 'Native Son' (1951) Is True to Richard Wright's Work

Compared to the two film versions of Native Son in more recent times, the 1951 version more acutely captures the race-driven existential dread at the heart of Richard Wright's masterwork.

Music

3 Pairs of Boots Celebrate Wandering on "Everywhere I Go" (premiere)

3 Pairs of Boots are releasing Long Rider in January 2021. The record demonstrates the pair's unmistakable chemistry and honing of their Americana-driven sound, as evidenced by the single, "Everywhere I Go".

Books

'World War 3 Illustrated #51: The World We Are Fighting For'

World War 3 Illustrated #51 displays an eclectic range of artists united in their call to save democracy from rising fascism.

Music

Tiphanie Doucet's "You and I" Is an Exercise in Pastoral Poignancy (premiere)

French singer-songwriter Tiphanie Doucet gives a glimpse of her upcoming EP, Painted Blue, via the sublimely sentimental ode, "You and I".

Music

PM Picks Playlist 3: WEIRDO, Psychobuildings, Lili Pistorius

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of WEIRDO, Brooklyn chillwavers Psychobuildings, the clever alt-pop of Lili Pistorius, visceral post-punk from Sapphire Blues, Team Solo's ska-pop confection, and dubby beats from Ink Project.

By the Book

The Story of Life in 10 1/2 Species (excerpt)

If an alien visitor were to collect ten souvenir life forms to represent life on earth, which would they be? This excerpt of Marianne Taylor's The Story of Life in 10 and a Half Species explores in text and photos the tiny but powerful earthling, the virus.

Marianne Taylor
Film

Exploitation Shenanigans 'Test Tube Babies' and 'Guilty Parents' Contend with the Aftermath

As with so many of these movies about daughters who go astray, Test Tube Babies blames the uptight mothers who never told them about S-E-X. Meanwhile, Guilty Parents exploits poor impulse control and chorus girls showing their underwear.

Music

Deftones Pull a Late-Career Rabbit Out of a Hat with 'Ohms'

Twenty years removed from Deftones' debut album, the iconic alt-metal outfit gel more than ever and discover their poise on Ohms.

Music

Arcade Fire's Will Butler Personalizes History on 'Generations'

Arcade Fire's Will Butler creates bouncy, infectious rhythms and covers them with socially responsible, cerebral lyrics about American life past and present on Generations.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Thelonious Monk's Recently Unearthed 'Palo Alto' Is a Stellar Posthumous Live Set

With a backstory as exhilarating as the music itself, a Thelonious Monk concert recorded at a California high school in 1968 is a rare treat for jazz fans.

Music

Jonnine's 'Blue Hills' Is an Intimate Collection of Half-Awake Pop Songs

What sets experimental pop's Jonnine apart on Blue Hills is her attention to detail, her poetic lyricism, and the indelibly personal touch her sound bears.

Music

Renegade Connection's Gary Asquith Indulges in Creative Tension

From Renegade Soundwave to Renegade Connection, electronic legend Gary Asquith talks about how he continues to produce infectiously innovative music.

Music

A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.

Books

Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.

Music

PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.

Film

'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.