Friday, May 19th, 2006
Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken
Whither wimpiness? When former mentors and countrymen Belle & Sebastian discovered Northern Soul and moved onto glammier things, it was assumed that Camera Obscura would hold down the fort of twee and continue to turn out lovely albums of grammar school anthems. However, no one seems to have consulted the band about this.
The new album Let’s Get Out Of This Country, out June 6, opens with the first single “Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken”, an insanely catchy and cheeky paean to Scottish pop legend Lloyd Cole & The Commotions (I know, Cole is English but the band was based in Glasgow), and carries on for nine more tracks of glorious pop music with a seriously stomping Motown bent. There’s still a fair share of sad, folkier tunes but the head boppers are the real standouts on this record – who’d have thought this band had it in them? This new angle on their sound can perhaps be credited to producer Jari Haapalainen who has some experience with sassing up indie pop groups – he manned the boards for the first Concretes album.
The growth in the band’s sound isn’t accidental, either. As TracyAnne Campbell tells The Daily Record, the band wanted to make a grab for that commercial brass ring – maybe land a Target commercial perhaps? But when you’ve got a record as shimmering and shimmying as this one, the whys and wherefores are really unimportant. Expect the merch table to be swarmed on July 4 when the band plays the Horseshoe in Toronto – tickets are on sale now for $15.50. It’s been two years since they visited us last so you can be sure that this one will be sold out lickety split. Presumably there are more North American dates forthcoming but I’ve not seen them yet.
Much media to share – Merge has a couple of the more rollicking tracks from the record available to stream. “If Looks Could Kill”, in particular, reveals that Camera Obscura sound damned good when they’re pushing the needles into the red. For those of you who like to save things to your desktops, there’s the album’s title track available to download and the naturally adorable first video in RealVideo format. Furthermore, because Camera Obscura are no slouches when it comes to cutting-edge technology, check out their blog, their MySpace AND their podcast for Merge (download the MP3 or stream it) where they talk, rather sheepishly, about the new record. Recommended for people who dig Scottish accents.
Stream: Camera Obscura – “If Looks Could Kill”
Stream: Camera Obscura – “Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken”
MP3: Camera Obscura – “Let’s Get Out Of This Country”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken” (REAL)
And if you’ve never heard the inspiration for the single, then by God we need to rectify that. “Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken?” is the final track on Lloyd Cole’s classic Rattlesnakes album. Wonderfully literate, romantic and melodic, All Music Guide calls it “one of the finest debuts of the ’80s and possibly the defining album of the whole U.K. indie jangle scene” and I call it a classic of any era.
While everything is coming up Camera Obscura, their aforementioned Swedish colleagues in pop The Concretes aren’t having such a good time. After having their gear stolen last week, Pitchfork reports the band have now cancelled the rest of their North American tour, all told six west coast dates, due to illness. Best wishes to lead Concrete Victoria Bergsman for a quick recovery from whatever ails her.
And I’m disapointed to hear (via For The Records and I Heart Music) that one of my favourite local bands The Airfields is going on… well, the blog post isn’t exactly clear, but it doesn’t sound like there’ll be much news from the band anytime soon. A real shame, as their Laneways EP, released just a couple months ago, is a real gem of jangly, C86 goodness. Give some tracks from the EP a listen and hope with me that this isn’t the last we hear from them (thanks to Largehearted Boy for finding that second track).
np – Loose Fur / Born Again In The USA