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Camera Obscura
(Scotland) Glasgow
Hailing from sunny Scotland, Camera Obscura have ploughed their furrow writing slightly offensive pop melancholy. Perhaps the best example of this on their debut release, Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi, is Eighties Fan. If you haven't heard it (and you undoubtedly have), it is probably the best pop song ever. The aforementioned melancholy runs through its string veins with the lightest of bobbing flows. An impossibly pretty and well-recorded string section (arranged by Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian) provides the soul here, in a way that Tompaulin have surely learnt from and replicated. This song could mean something to everyone, such is its grace and deftness of craft. You too will think that 'life will be the death of you'.

Unfortunately, having Eighties Fan as the second track on the album means that the listener is consistently under-whelmed by everything that follows it. This isn't to say that any of the material is spectacularly bad, but it inevitably fails in comparison to the glory of that one song. The album does enough to suggest that Eighties Fan wasn't a fluke (the terribly sad tale of a Smiths-obsessed boyfriend in Pen and Notebook probably comes closest), but there is a definite lack of the extreme coherence that would catapult them into the indie-pop superleagues. There are flashes of arch-knowing that take them steps closer to that special kind of personal relationship between band and listener, but there is also the feeling that they are capable of so much more. The sullen beauty of Tracy-Ann Campbell's voice could be the charm that wins the day with the casual listener, but the longevity really needs to come from the songs. A fine testament to the influence of Belle and Sebastian, Camera Obscura could be something pretty special if they get out of first gear.
Daniel Ross

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Releases:
Park And Ride (7") 1997
on Andmoresound - AND 09 45
- Park And Ride
- Swimming Pool
Your Sound (7"+CD5) April-1999
on andmoresound - AND 11
- Your Sound
- Autumn Tides
- Annawaltzerpose
Rare UK Bird (CD) 1999
on Quattro
Japan only
- Park And Ride
- Swimming Pool
- Your Sound
- Autumn Tides
- Annawaltzerpose
- Eastwood
- Railway Station
- Eighties Fan
Eighties Fan (7"+CD5) 25-Jun-2001
on Andmoresound - AND 16
- Eighties Fan
- Let's Go Bowling
- Shine Like a New Pin
Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi (CD) 12-Nov-2001
on Elefant - ER-1090
and And More Sound - AND 17
- Anti-western
- Arrangements of Shapes and Space
- Double Feature
- Eighties Fan
- Happy New Year
- Houseboat
- I don't do crowds
- Pen and Notebook
- Swimming Pool
- The sun on his back
Teenager (CD5) Aug-2003
on Elefant - ER-352
- Teenager
- I Don't Want To See You
- Footloose And Fancy Free
Underachievers Try Harder (CD) 15-Sep-2003
on Elefant - ER-1104
Keep It Clean (CD5) Summer 2004
on Elefant - ER-355
I Love My Jean (7") March 2005
on Elefant - ER-246
- I Love My Jean
- Marathon Not A Sprint
- A Red, Red Nose
Let's Get Out Of This Country (LP+CD) May 2006 - More details
on Elefant - ER-1123
Also on: Merge Records (LP+CD) Summer 2006 - for North America
Also on: Fruit Records - FRUIT005 (CD) Nov-2006 - for Singapore
- Lloyd, I'm ready to be heartbroken
- Tears for affairs
- Come back Margaret
- Dory Previn
- The False Contender
- Let's get out of this country
- Country Mile
- If looks could kill
- I need all the friends I can get
- Razzle Dazzle Rose
- Phil and Don (bonus track)
- Roman holiday (bonus track)
Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken (CD5) May 2006
on Elefant - ER-262
Different sleeve than 7"
- Lloyd, I'm ready to be heartbroken
- Phil and Don
- Roman holiday
- Vídeo clip [I love my jean]
Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken (7") May 2006
on Elefant - ER-248
- Lloyd, I'm ready to be heartbroken
- I can't stay mad at you
Let's Get Out Of This Country (CD5) Sep 2006
on Elefant - ER-364
- Let's get out of this country
- Lemon juice and paper cuts
- Return to send her
Let's Get Out Of This Country (7") Sep 2006
on Elefant - ER-250
- Let's get out of this country
- Modern Girl
My Maudlin Career (LP+CD) 20-April-2009
on 4AD Records - CAD 2907
- French Navy
- The Sweetest Thing
- You Told A Lie
- Away With Murder
- Swans
- James
- Careless Love
- My Maudlin Career
- Forests And Sands
- Other Towns And Cities
- Honey In The Sun
On compilations:
Rough Trade Shops Indiepop 1  (CD2) 3-Oct-2004
on Mute - CDSTUMM 239
500 copies with free 7", released by the Rough Trade shop in London
- Eighties Fan
Radio Sessions:
John Peel Session (7-Mar-2001)
-Eighties Fan
-Park And Ride
-Sugartown
-Let Me Go Home
-Pen And Notebook
John Peel Session (1-Aug-2001)
-Anti Western
-Sun on his Back
-Number One Son
-Before You Cry
Air Session (1-Feb-2002)  listen
-Swimming Pool (surf version)
-Houseboat
-Anti Western
John Peel Session (20-Dec-2002)
-Happy New Year
-Little Donkey
Last updated: 6-Oct-2009 © 1994-2016 TweeNet Creative Commons License