Music » CD Reviews

Camera Obscura

Let's Get Out of This Country (Merge)


After three albums, it's apparent that Glasgow, Scotland's six-piece Camera Obscura is fated to revolve as a satellite in the orbit of fellow Scots Belle & Sebastian. The lyrics -- courtesy of singer Tracyanne Campbell -- are like those of head Belle Stuart Murdoch, by turns coy ("We can find a cathedral city/You can convince me I am pretty"), literate (one title adopts singer-songwriter and electric-shock survivor Dory Previn), and -- like its unmistakably twee sound -- redolent of simpler times ("Everyone else thinks it's the bee's knees").

But even if those charged with genre-gerrymandering are unwilling to grant this group the prerogative of its own independent pop designation, there is much to celebrate. Despite the persistent familiarity, Camera Obscura manages to stake its own claim. From a well-made bed of inspired melancholia ("Tears for Affairs," "Come Back Margaret," "Country Mile") springs "Lloyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken" and "Let's Get Out of This Country," two of the most charming, Motown-spirited sing-alongs of the past several years. Like the album, they're sweet enough to entice and sufficiently sticky to escape discard.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.