For anyone who loved the sugary three-chord pop of Camera Obscura's Underachievers Please Try Harder, then be ready to have another secret crush on their latest Merge release, Let's Get Out Of This Country. The band comes back with the same game plan as their previous album - simple, orchestral, catchy-as-hell pop that doesn't once apologize for knowing how ridiculously cute it is. It's one part Belle and Sebastian, one part Concretes, one part Leonard Cohen, one part Supremes, and one part sugar in your coffee.
From the first song, "Lloyd, I'm Read To Be Heartbroken," you know this album is going to be just as good as their last. Chugging along with descending violins and over-the-top lyrics, it makes you wish that Tracyanne Campbell were your girlfriend. "Hey Lloyd, I'm ready to be heartbroken because I can't see further than my nose at this moment" sings Campbell. It sounds as though she's leaving a message on my answering machine. I love you too Tracyanne.
The center of the album is the title track, "Let's Get Out of This Country." It's the perfect pop song and quite possibly one of Camera Obscura's best. I was always such a sucker for "Knee Deep At The NPL" and "Keep It Clean" on the last album, but "Let's Get Out Of This Country" takes the exact same formula and adds a little punch. It's about the dilemma that seems to plague a lot of New Yorkers. We all love New York, but all we do is complain about it. We hate the rent, we hate the dirtiness, and we know it and talk about it, but we don't want to leave. "What does the city have to offer me?/Everyone else thinks it's the bees knees," she sings.
A lot of people have the attitude of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." I'm a strong believer in this. If a band makes a rock record and then makes an electronic record right after, too many people congratulate them on "progressing." Is it possible that they didn't have it in them to make another rock record? It seems as though the too many bands who try to make this move think that going outside the lines of their previous endeavors is a sign of their creative superiority. In my mind, it's harder for a band to keep doing the same thing and still make it sound good. There's a lot to be said about a band like Camera Obscura who can basically make another version of their last record, Underachievers Please Try Harder, and succeed in every possible way imaginable. I dare anyone not to love this album, and more importantly, not to fall in love with Tracyanne Campbell.