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Music => Music Reviews => Topic started by: rva on May 11, 2004, 04:45:57 PM

Title: Camera Obscura-- Underachievers Please Try Harder
Post by: rva on May 11, 2004, 04:45:57 PM
I know it.  You know it.  Everybody knows it and has written about it.  So let's just get it out of the way:  YES, THEY SOUND VERY MUCH LIKE BELLE AND SEBASTIAN.

To clarify:  Underacheivers Please Try Harder sounds like an album Belle and Sebastion could easily have made (and perhaps wish they did), but it also doesn't sound like anything in their present catalogue.  Think of it as the lost outtakes of an early-mid B & S studio session.  And is that such a bad thing?

Like B & S, the appeal of the cd is simple.  Simple wistful pop songs with tuneful melodies and shimmery summer chorus harmonies, in this case sung by a woman with an amazingly sweet voice.  Sounds good, but haven't we heard this before?  

Well yes and no. While the formula is tried-and-true and it's certainly enjoyable on the breezy summer pop level, there's more than enough here for all-season listening.  The band do an exceptional job of tossing in little hooks to create a sound that is at once lush and deceptively simple, keeping things interesting but ensuring Tracyanne Campbell's vocals remain the focus.  There's plenty to like in the lyrics as well, although here again the band choose smartly to focus on GOOD rather than clever.

So yeah, buy this if you like Belle and Sebastion.  But also buy this if you like The Sundays, The Cranberries or the Beach Boys.  Or simple love songs about crushes, breakups and broken hearts.  In short, buy this if you have ears and a heart.
Title: Camera Obscura-- Underachievers Please Try Harder
Post by: Rafe on May 11, 2004, 05:53:04 PM
RVA - you said "The Sundays". I'm sold.
Title: Camera Obscura-- Underachievers Please Try Harder
Post by: rva on May 11, 2004, 08:06:23 PM
Dude, it's not as good as The Sundays.  Nothing is as good as the Sundays.  This is maybe 66% of Sundays (Thursday?) which still makes it well worth purchasing.

The Sundays were able to break out of the typical twee-girly sound into something that retained the charm of that genre but blended with some rock and other assorted elements with a sort of Smithesque-sensibility.  I don't even know what the means, but I think it's true.

Camera Obscura have much simpler goals in mind.  Still, Camera Obscura and maybe Aberdeen are probably the closest thing to Sundays in 2002.  I consider Rilo Kiley the American Sundays-- they don't really sound the same at all but it's kinda the same formula of twee-ish pop with some added twists where you don't expect it.  The Delgados have a bit of that too.  But Reading, Writing, Arithmetic won't be repeated.
Title: Camera Obscura-- Underachievers Please Try Harder
Post by: Marlowe on May 12, 2004, 07:14:35 PM
Camera Obscura rocks my socks.  Underachievers has been in heavy rotation for me for about two months and it seems to keeps growing on you as you listen to it more and more. RVA's comparison to the Sundays is a good one... not so much in how they sound but in how they make you feel when you listen to them, which is 'awed' and 'in love'.
Title: Camera Obscura-- Underachievers Please Try Harder
Post by: rva on May 12, 2004, 07:45:10 PM
Well put, DudeMan.
Title: Camera Obscura-- Underachievers Please Try Harder
Post by: Skippy on May 13, 2004, 01:14:41 PM
a friend of mine told me she didnt like this disc.  the sundays comparisons really make me want to hear it now.
Title: Camera Obscura-- Underachievers Please Try Harder
Post by: pathogen on May 15, 2004, 12:37:33 AM
Quote from: "Rafeyboy"
RVA - you said "The Sundays". I'm sold.

what he said.  well, i'm at least 66% sold.  sounds good to me.