May 27, 2002

Camera Obscura "Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi"

God, I love this record! I haven't been this taken by a band from first listen since I first heard the Clientele a few years ago, it was a moment in time that meant total love and devotion from me, and I'm happy to say that there's another band that's done that from the get-go. Maybe I'm getting older, or maybe I'm getting harder to impress, but nothing just knocks me over and causes me to admit my total love and devotion from listen numero uno.

Really, though, how could I NOT love Camera Obscura?? Their music is charming and lovely and a little bit sad. I like the sweet boy-girl vocal exchange, simply because---well, because they're simply lovely! I don't know who does what, because there's not extensive crediting for duties in the liner notes, but I want to commend whoever does the singing for having one of the sweetest voices out there today. And those accents, too! Listening to Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi--Camera Obscura's debut--is much like looking at baby pictures, automatically you fawn over the little fellow or lady, and you simply cannot help but smile. I'm gushing, yes, I know, because there's also a little baby that's won my heart recently, and Camera Obscura's totally won my heart over.

I'm sure you're thinking, "yes, but Joseph, how do they sound--and don't just say 'beautiful' or 'lovely,' please, because I really want to know!!" Well, they're folky and jangle-jangley, and, yes there's a sonic similarity to that B&S band we know and don't particularly love over here. The singer, she also has a sound that's very similar to Rose Melburg of the Softies, and that's only a good thing. There's not a bum song on Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi, and thanks to Elefant for adding on two b-sides from their Elefant single, because that means more Camera Obscura, which I simply cannot get enough of!!

You should be aware of one thing: Camera Obscura are not not NOT to be mistaken for the rather not-very-good American band of the same name, so please be aware. Now if only some wise record label in the United States would pick up on this rare diamond of a band, because this side of the world really deserves to hear Camera Obscura. I'd also like to suggest, if the legal issue comes up, that they simply add "The Good" to it, because nothing would state the truth that well.

--Joseph Kyle

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