Preview Article [ 2006-12-20, 6:02 p.m. ]

I finished my preview article for Camera Obscura. It's not Shakespeare but I threw it together and I think it's good enough.

Camera Obscura is defined by American Heritage Dictionary as “a darkened chamber in which the real image of an object is received through a small opening or lens and focused in natural color onto a facing surface rather than recorded on a film or plate.” I first knew of this term when I was watching the disappointing 1997 romantic comedy Addicted to Love, in which the device is used to spy on the people across the street. Not nearly as entertaining as the Scottish indie rock band, Camera Obscura.

The band, currently comprised of Tracyanne Campbell (guitar, vocals);Carey Lander (piano, organ, vocals); Kenny McKeeve (guitar, mandolin, harmonica, vocals); Gavin Dunbar (bass); Lee Thomson (drums); Nigel Baillie (trumpet, percussion), formed in 1996 with only Campbell and Dunbar being the original members left. They toured and opened for Snow Patrol in 2000 and had a bestselling independent album with their first release, Biggest Bluest Hi Fi in 2001. After much more touring in 2002, the band released Underachievers Please Try Harder.

Besides their many John Peel Radio 1 sessions, they also were asked to put music to the words of Scotland’s National Poet, Robert Burns. In addition, in 2006, Camera Obscura released their third album, Let’s Get Out of This Country. It featured the first single “Lloyd, I’m Ready to be Heartbroken” in response to Lloyd Cole’s song “Are You Ready to be Heartbroken?”.

The band is much loved by critics with words and phrases like “enchanting”, “lovely”, “gentle”, “gorgeously produced” “beautifully romantic” bandied about in their reviews for the band. And there are the usual comparisons to Belle & Sebastian, whose innocent sounding vocals with dreamy instrumentation definitely are not unlike Camera Obscura.

I found that upon listening to Camera Obscura, I did feel like I was stepping into a world where here it was ok to have violins playing while the female singer cooed about wanting to explore a threesome.

Camera Obscura will be playing at the Cat’s Cradle in Chapel Hill on January 20th.

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Ryan Adams