Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Camera Obscura Sings in Misery

I caught Camera Obscura last night at the Blue Note. It was surprisingly good. CO are all the good parts of Belle & Sebastian (fellow Glasgow-ites), Stereolab (indie pop perfection with a French twist), and early Cranberries (lingering). I have only recently gotten into this band; so don't expect a play list from me.

CO's songs have infectious grooves with old pop-influenced overtones. While much of their work sounds like Belle & Sebastian with its nods to 1960's pop and melancholy lyrics, CO separates themselves with stronger female vocals and coming by their irony much more earnestly. CO puts on a good show of solid performing with just a touch of showmanship, but not too much. (For one of the songs, the band's multi-instrumentalist banged on the cymbals with the main drummer.)

The highlight of the set was a string of three faster-paced songs, ending with the title track from their album. I'm not sure of the order, but I'm fairly certain that "Lloyd, I'm Ready to be Heartbroken" and "If Looks Could Kill", ending with "Let's Get out of this Country." The third song in this faster portion of the set was preceded with a bit about the band actually feeling this way at the beginning of their US tour, but things were looking up now that they were in the middle of the county. The band expressed much fondness for small-town, mid-west living. They even suggested that two songs and a trip to a local bar would be better than three songs for an encore. I'm sure a much savvier blogger than I caught up with the band at some watering hole down the street. I don't even know where the hipsters would go in this town. (In Columbus, it's either Larry's or St. James.) "Country Mile" was another highlight.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised. Camera Obscura put on a solid and fun show. I'd see them again. Although I'm sure they won't be through anytime soon. Next up: The Shins in St. Louis!

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