Saturday, June 24, 2006

Record Review: Camera Obscura

I've spent quite a bit of this year listenting to female fronted bands. This is nothing new for me, mind you, as I have always preferred to hear a woman's voice pouring into my ear as opposed to that of a man. In high school I was taunted as a "fag" because I preferred to hear a woman sing a song about a dude then a guy whine about a chick. That's neither here nor there, but this year I have really ramped up my intake of girl bands, as will be evident when I publish my Top 50 songs of 2006 (so far) list on or about July 1st.

Camera Obscura is a group that has been around for 10 years and who keeps putting out amazing top notch pop style music. It's hard to pigeon hole what CO's music is, because despite the ever present force of Tracyanne Campbell's vocals, their style ebbs and flows. For a moment they are enigmatic and coy, and then they come right at you with 80's style pop force. What never changes is Campbell's honey sweat yet silk smooth voice. She has the ability to soar on tracks like "Hey Loyd I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken" as well as an uncanny smoldering style on "Country Mile."

For folks that loved what was good about the late 80's there is the track "If Looks Could Kill" which is only missing the inclusion in a John Hughes film among it's credentials. My favorite track by far is the slow but endearing track Dory Previn which is sung in homage to the singer and songwriter of such famous soundtracks as The Valley of the Dolls. Having done some reading about Previn's history of troubled relationships the songs lyrics come into stark focus. "I think it's time, I put him out of my mind" and "Sick of the sight of my own lover" reveal a woman girding up the strength to wash that man right our of her hair.

This 6 piece Scottish group pulls out each and every stop on this record, andfrom what I have heard they are amazing live as well. To all of you in the Mid Atlantic region, you can take the opportunity to see them your self on July 9th at the Black Cat in DC. Failing that you should at least pick up this disc and enjoy some fine lyrics sung by a modern Siren who even Odysseus could not have passed by.

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