Sunday, June 3, 2007

MUSIC: Let's Get Out Of This Country

Camera Obscura are a band that I discovered last summer at work while listening to the web feed of WYEP, a radio station out of Pittsburgh. I can't recommend the station enough to people, as it provided me with enough new music throughout the summer such that I didn't go on some kind of ill-advised spree at the Keg.

While the Scottish twee-poppers have been around for a while, the first song I'd ever heard by them was "Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken," a response to Lloyd Cole's tune "Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken?" What initially caught my ear was the fact that it sounded just like a 1950's pop song, a trait that continues throughout last year's album "Let's Get Out Of This Country." There's a certain charm to that kind of aesthetic, but I think it goes beyond that with this band.

Although I can't really name all of the specifics as far as the instrumental arrangement is concerned (not that it would make a difference for this post), I tend to really buy into the timelessness of these tracks (Discerning readers may assume by my use of the word "timeless" that I'm a grey-haired old man with a hatred for sugary cereals, skateboards and loud metal music.).

Without making a slingshot around-the-sun, we're taken back to a past that never existed with this CD. Until about halfway through high-school, the word "pop" was a dirty one within my musical vocabulary, and for good reason. For a young boy struggling to figure out who was telling the truth, and who was not, there was simply no way that many of these leather-pantsed video-boys were on the side of the angels. It's like a kid inherently knowing that Skittles are bad for you because they go down just a little too easy.

Tracyanne Campbell's songs make you want to believe that a time existed when all our popstars told the truth. These little ditties that grab your ear with their little surf-guitar lines and Campbell's soothing voice really are all about self-doubt and frustration, but not necessarily in some all-consuming fashion. Someone once noted to me that whenever a girl sings about these sort of things, you fall in love a little bit with her. Not to take away from the band's instrumental efforts, but this is definitely true with Camera Obscura. It's like she's a friend who you've secretly been wanting for years, and she comes to tell you all of her little problems with the boys in your school. She tells you that she's ready to give up guys altogether, although a week later she's fallen for someone else.

Fed up with girls in pretty dresses
With boys who want to teach them a lesson
Sick of the sight of my old lover
Went under sheets and covers to get away from him

They also own one of the best summer-escape songs I've heard in a while, the title track "Let's Get Out Of This Country." To me, it's an homage to a road trip that John Hughes maybe forgot to film.

We'll pick berries and recline
Let's hit the road dear friend of mine
Wave goodbye to our thankless jobs
We'll drive for miles maybe never turn off

Although there's much more that can be said about this album, I'll leave the rest up to you. Go buy the damn thing, I've gotta go to sleep.

No comments: