I stumbled upon Camera Obscura while on the internets and saw their name in connection with Belle And Sebastian, a band I’ve been into quite heavy for years. I listened to their second album, 2003’s “Underachievers try harder”, first and worked backwards.
You can definitely here the B&S influence on the Glasgow-based indie pop band’s debut, “Biggest bluest hi-fi”, especially since it was produced by Stuart Murdoch, but they definitely are their own band. Led by the delicate to the point of crumbling vocals of Tracyanne Campbell, Camera Obscura’s is even more retro sounding, harkening back to girl groups crying over broken hearts in the 60s.
“You say your life will be the death of you
Tell me, do you wash your hair in honeydew
And long for all of them to fall in love with you
But they never do”
“Eighties fan” starts off with a drum beat you’re sure you’ve before a hundred times, hinting at something upbeat, but Camera Obscura doesn’t go there. Instead, they run up crying to their bedroom and slam the door. They put something sad on the turntable and crank the volume, ignoring the shouts of their mother below. They pull out the tiny bottle of vodka that an older teenager had procured for them and sip lightly but still coughing and sputtering. There curse the name of their more attractive and hipper older sister for catching the eye of their cute boy they had a crush on and cry, tears streaming everywhere. And… well… you get the picture.
An incredible first single off the debut album that started it all.
For the rest of the Best tunes of 2001 list, click here.