Tuesday, June 16, 2009

It List: Tuesday

Camera Obscura/Anni Rossi (The Loft): Camera Obscura is one of the only pop groups of their stature that I not only can tolerate, but that I wholeheartedly support. And by "stature," I mean that I was recently listening to modern classic, "Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken" in my car, and the song was almost playing exactly where it left off on the PA when I walked into a grocery store.

I usually can't stand overly precious groups in this genre. The type of hyper-produced bombast that they overload their songs with is something that many have attempted since Belle And Sebastian's peak around ten years ago, often to embarrassing results. Most people just don't have the first clue about how to gracefully insert a trumpet or flute into their music without it sounding completely forced or silly. I wish that weren't so, but more often than not, it is. There is some intangible to CO's music that transcends the whole kitchen sink nature of the instrumentation and the inevitable weepy melodrama that plagues so many of these records. It could be lead singer Traceyanne Campbell's ability to sound meek while simultaneously belting it out, or that the writing is so strong that these songs wouldn't suffer with even more sonic embellishments tossed in, or the opposite: if they were under-produced, covered with hiss, and released on cassette. In either case, I think Camera Obscura would still be a completely enjoyable experience. They conquered the near-impossible task of playing a convincing yet unavoidably brief set at a SXSW day show at the Mohawk when I saw them, and I'm sure they'll be even better tonight.


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