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Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi

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Album Review

You really can't discuss Camera Obscura without mentioning Belle & Sebastian. That group's Stuart Murdoch produces Camera Obscura's debut, Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi; both groups hail from the part of Scotland where Felt, Donovan, the Pastels, and Heavenly are gods; and they both write smart, sweet indie pop songs with hearts on sleeve and tears on eyelash. Stop right there if you are thinking that Camera Obscura is a copyist, though. Stop and listen, because there is much to love about the band. First off are Tracyanne Campbell's remarkably sweet and rich vocals; she sings most of the leads (though John Henderson chimes in on leads and harmonies time to time) and has the kind of voice that will melt anyone who had a thing for Tracey Thorn. The songs are hooky and simple, based on classic indie pop chord changes and lovingly spiced with all sorts of sonic candy like chirping horns, gentle organ fills, handclaps, twangy-guitar solos, and swooning strings. The girl group-inspired "Eighties Fan" is undoubtedly the highlight, but almost any other tune would fit in swimmingly on an indie pop highlights mixtape. In fact, Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi makes a strong case for Camera Obscura as one of the best indie pop bands to come down the pike since, well, Belle & Sebastian.

Customer Reviews

This is more Felt than Belle & Sebastian

While their second long player (Under Achievers) has some resemblance to B&S (esp, "Suspended from Class"), the first actually sounds more like a heavenly fusion of The Felt and Everything But the Girl. This is true even when a song ("Eighties Fan," one of the highlights) is produced by Stuart "Belle" Murdoch himself. (Let's not forget that Murdoch is a huge fan of The Felt, as is anyone with style and wit.) For my money, this is still the best Camera Obscura disc, although the others have their charms as well.

Crazy Good

This is by far my favorite Camera Obscura album. I love love love "Eighties Fan" and "Pen and Notebook."

let it calm you...

this album really sets the mood for relaxing and chilling out. this is a fun album to own.

Biography

Formed: 1996 in Glasgow, Scotland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Pairing bright and clever retro-styled melodies with smart, witty lyrics and a sense of style that is sleek but lived-in at the same time, Camera Obscura are a Scottish indie pop group who became one of the most celebrated acts on the U.K.'s twee pop scene, while also displaying a pronounced country influence in their more low-key numbers. Hailing from Glasgow, Camera Obscura were formed in 1996 by lead vocalist and guitarist Tracyanne Campbell, percussionist John Henderson, and bassist Gavin Dunbar....
Full Bio
Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi, Camera Obscura
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