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Let's Get Out of This Country

4.3 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 6, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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".

Amazon.com

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
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 6, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Merge Records
  • ASIN: B000FFJ8CG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,730 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. JEFFREY MCMAHON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 10, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I've been a fan of Camera Obscura for a couple years now, buying some select tunes off the Internet, but found I had to buy the whole album here because every song is a gem. Description: Bright, nostalgic, melancholic dream pop with wistful female vocals. Great travel music for winding up and down the Italian coast with the top down (or at least pretend to). I hear elements of The Sundays, The Smiths, Belle & Sebestian, Beaumont, Lovejoy, St. Etienne, The Clientele, and Radio Dept. If you want an introduction to Camera Obscura, this is a great place to begin.
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Format: Audio CD
This is simply one of the loveliest albums you will ever hope to hear. Tracyanne Campbell and her band mates in Camera Obscura have labored under the shadow of their fellow Glasgow musicians Belle and Sebastian. It doesn't help that like Belle and Sebastian their songs are more softly edged and lyrical than most other rock bands. But although there is a superficial resemblance between the two bands, especially when Imogen Campbell takes the vocals instead of Murdoch, there are also significant differences. Campbell is a far more delicate songwriter than Stuart Murdoch and her compositions are far more delicate. She lacks his brilliant quirkiness and astonishing gift for melody, though her songs frequently feature very fine melodies. But Murdoch is probably the finest melodist in music today, so the comparison is unfair to her. On the other hand, most of Campbell's lyrics express emotions that I can relate to far more easily than Murdoch's. He may be the greater artist, but she lives pretty much where I do.

Camera Obscura turned out two very good albums before this one, but this is easily their best effort yet. All of the songs are consistently excellent and Campbell's lovely voice graces everyone. She is a remarkably subtle singer, very gifted in her phrasing and expression. But as fine as she is as a singer, she is better as a songwriter. I like a lot of the cuts on this disc, in particular "I Need All the Friends I Can Get" and the truly sad "Dory Previn," about the young Mia Farrow breaking up her and Andre Previn's marriage. But my favorite cut by far is the extraordinary "Lloyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken," named for one of Lloyd Cole's best songs on his classic album RATTLESNAKES, "Are You Ready to Be Heartbroken?
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Format: Audio CD
Well, I'm always searching for great new music, from early 1900s jazz to modern experimental electronica. I LOVE early 60s music, so this band really stands out to me. This album has a great late 1950s-early 60s pop/bop/folk/motown/rock flavor to it; The vintage sounds as well as the progessions and melodies. There is a really honest feeling to the vocals that I don't hear in much music since the turn of the century. I liked it the instant i heard it. It makes me think of the Smiths with a female singer and a more vintage sound. Nothing wrong with that!
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Format: Audio CD
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
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Format: Audio CD
Breaking up is painful and miserable, though sometimes necessary. And evidently that's what was on the mind of Camera Obscura as they created "Let's Get Out of This Country." These Scottish indiepoppers created a smooth, nostalgic, rippling little pop gem full of doleful emotion, and boy does it feel good.

The opening song "Lloyd I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken" is a deliciously catchy pop number full of soaring strings and rattly tambourine, which is a response to Lloyd Cole's "Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken?" Most of it, though, is just about a girl who has "a life of complication to sort out."

It's followed up by the folky, accordion-riddled little melody of "Tears For Affairs," an anguished little song played in a very peppy, upbeat manner. That is the basic template for the songs on this album: frolicking catchy indiepop, warm ballads, rippling organ rockers, bouncy alt-rock, and ambient, wintry pop filled with strings.

And every single one is about breaking up with someone, cheating on someone, or leaving someone behind.

Camera Obscura are always working to break out of Belle & Sebastian's shadow, since they're both quirky chamberpop bands from Scotland. But "Let's Get Out of This Country" shows that their music is of a totally different kind -- it's darker, less pensive and bookish, and more filled with raw emotion.

The music is overflowing with peppy instrumentation -- violin, trumpet, tambourine, some mandolin and subtle accordion laid over the basic bouncy guitars and drums. And of course, there's warm waves of organ adding a colourful edge, and helping to accentuate just how fun and pretty the music is.
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