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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Me and John Peel can't both be wrong
I arrived home in an excited frenzy after hearing the song "Suspended from class" on John Peel, late one night driving home. I hadn't heard anything so beautiful for a long time. I was reminded of Dreams by the Cranberries but essentially this band sound more like Belle and Sebastian really. The rest of the album follows in this vain. Lovely pop songs that are melodic,...
Published on 29 Sep 2003 by Gazza D

versus
5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but first one was better
Non-evolution is not a problem in itself, though it does eventually lead to extinction. Their first CD: Biggest Bluest HiFi is one of the greatest CDs in my collection (others include most B&S, BRMC, Stone Roses and so on and so forth).
Underachievers is good... the melodies are fine, not always consistently brilliant like Biggest Bluest... but pleasant nonetheless...
Published on 13 Jan 2004


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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Me and John Peel can't both be wrong, 29 Sep 2003
By 
This review is from: Underachievers, Please Try Harder (Audio CD)
I arrived home in an excited frenzy after hearing the song "Suspended from class" on John Peel, late one night driving home. I hadn't heard anything so beautiful for a long time. I was reminded of Dreams by the Cranberries but essentially this band sound more like Belle and Sebastian really. The rest of the album follows in this vain. Lovely pop songs that are melodic, beautifully recorded and constructed. The main attraction is the lead singer's crystal clear voice and their self effacing delivery. Having seen them live you can tell that they're probably never going to be huge but if you're like me they will give you hours of pleasure. Their first album "Big Blue Hi-Fi" is also a bit of a masterpiece.
I've never written a review and probably never will again. I only wrote this because no one else has yet. So if you're browsing and happened upon this page, give it a go. They deserve it. Me and John Peel can't both be wrong.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A breath of fresh air at last, 3 Dec 2003
This review is from: Underachievers, Please Try Harder (Audio CD)
It took a long time coming for this year's best album but it arrived for me in Norwich at a low profile gig in September. Breathtaking in their simplicity and yet complexity, Camera Obscura cut an independent dash through much of the cloned formulas of today's bands. Full of dry wit, matter of fact observation and superb musicianship these girls and boys ought to be everyone's favourites, but they probably won't be because they don't have spiky hair. Hats off to a smiling band who aren't afraid to shake their maracas at you so BEWARE. Go see them live and then, like Victor Kiam and I, you'll love them so much you'll have to buy the album.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Try Harder? I doubt that's possible..., 8 Aug 2004
This review is from: Underachievers, Please Try Harder (Audio CD)
The seven-piece band offer perfectly constructed, acoustic driven melodies. If their music had an image it would be that of someone curled up in front of a coal fire with a glass of red wine in their hand and a tear in their eye.
Your Picture is the stand out song on this album. It sounds strikingly similar to Suzanne by Leonard Cohen but sung in a Scottish accent. Imagine that.
There is a definite Motown influence on Let Me Go Home. Maybe this influence is referenced in the song: "sound of Temptations...Supremes in our dreams." The song also features a gorgeous refrain which sounds a lot like: "baby love, my baby love."
Underachievers Please Try Harder is a beautiful album. If you don't feel the need for power chords and angry screams but want music that speaks to your soul, buy this.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Try harder??? It hardly gets better than this., 3 Dec 2003
This review is from: Underachievers, Please Try Harder (Audio CD)
Finally got my hands on this album following raving reviews of John Peel and Stuart Murdoch ( Belle & Sebastian ) and not that Camera Obscura do not disappoint, they are actually fantastic and I would rate this album as my favorite from anything which has been released this year.
Delightful catchy pop tunes beautifully crafted, with a songwriting quality which simply makes you wonder if they already existed. The lyrics are fantastic and I would understand the link with Belle & Sebastian. But Camera Obscura sounds different and their atmosphere is different; I would see the similarities in their ability of portraying a wide range of emotions with a unique twist, and brilliant wit!
Favorite tracks are Number one son, Lunar Sea, Keep it Clean... although all of them are fantastic; a must buy for everyone who likes B&S, The Smiths... and actually it would be too simplistic to compare Camera Obscura to anything or anyone.
Deserved to be recognised!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So, so sweet, 13 Aug 2006
This review is from: Underachievers, Please Try Harder (Audio CD)
This album is fantastic. To be fair there a couple of fillers, but the good songs are so good as to more than make up for it.

In a parallel universe Suspended From Class would have been a number one single.

And in the song Keep It Clean the line "You've taken to phoning my house when you're drunk, confessing all your love..." is one of my favourite lyrics and favourite pieces of singing ever. It is the ultimate heartbreak song.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great album, 29 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Underachievers, Please Try Harder (Audio CD)
Lots of classics - "knee deep", "suspended from class", "keep it clean", beautiful songs with great lyrics. My favourite Camera Obscura album. Buy it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars great band, 28 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Underachievers, Please Try Harder (Audio CD)
Camera obscura get better and better they are really maturing into something great, each album is better than the last only fault is they seem to be slow in writing new material ...is that a fault taking your time ??
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5.0 out of 5 stars Has there ever been a better band to come out of Scotland?, 14 May 2009
By 
Kev "Kev" (Nantwich, Cheshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Underachievers, Please Try Harder (Audio CD)
Prequel
Reviewing background: used to have my own modest fanzine entitled `She Took His Breath Away' which lasted from 1999 through to 2004, and only featured positive reviews. Loved the writing, had to fold it up due to the costs..life, eh?
Some people out there may well reply to my question "Well, of course there has been a better band! What a silly question to pose right at the start of a review..the man's an idiot!"
Okay, they are entitled to think what they like. Besides, what about taking into consideration genres? For instance, Camera Obscura can't be the best punk band from Scotland, can they? We can't compare them to the Alex Harvey Band really, or the very excellent post rockers Mogwai (the early stuff, anyway), or be able to rival the sheer pomp-gloss of Simple Minds (let's face it, who would want to?). No, quite right, but as far as indie pop/rock goes, this absolutely marvellous band really do take some beating, even if you murmur "Belle and Sebastian" at me (although I might listen to you if you sigh "The Bathers"). So, after narrowing down the genre I will now expand the territory. Let's include the whole of the UK. Now then, stick that on your ipod! (Actually, you would be much better off sticking some of their wonderful music on it..from this sheer delight of an album, and Let's Get Out Of The Country, and Biggest Bluest Hi Fi).
We kick off here with a gentle lament (okay, they are all gentle laments, except the quirky ultra superb out and out pop ones) entitled `Suspended From Class', which could have graced Gregory's Girl had the song been around at the time; that scene where Claire Grogan and Gordan Sinclair lie down and do the `hand' dancing. A timeless piece of cinematography, a timeless slice of pop music. And the rest just flows, and flows, and flows. A perky ditty about staying true (Keep It Clean), a sisterly love song (A Sister's Social Agony), with a fifties lilt that has more style than a little black dress, teenage regression (Teenager), again with a very slight fifties feel, and we still have another nine beautiful tracks to go.
These are all powerful takes on being young, of feeling that frailty when trying to keep apace of growing up, sometimes under the spotlight which is always hard to bare (no matter how small the glow is). It's good to be reminded of it all, even when, like me, it happened to you decades ago. These are just songs about life happening all around you, but done so exquisitely with a timelessness that straddles all the decades since pop music began.
And now, just arrived on the front door mat, is the new one `My Maudlin Career', which sounds as if we are dealing with twenty something memories..how much better can it get!?!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Smashing., 27 May 2007
By 
jaquesaulait (Salt Town, Budleigh. England.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Underachievers, Please Try Harder (Audio CD)
This is a terrific lp, I think all of their stuff is really good, Traceyanne Campbell's got a lovely voice, this band's stuff makes me feel all weirdly mellow and human, I like them a lot. If you're in Camera Obscura and you like my comments, please feel free to get in touch as I'd like to tell you just how smashing you are, all sycophanty an ting. I'm in the phone book. Peace out.
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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 Reasons To Buy This Album, 24 Jan 2005
This review is from: Underachievers, Please Try Harder (Audio CD)
1, The most simplistic, melodic Pop you'll ever hear, all delivered in a subtle, yet distinctive, Scottish accent
2. 'A Sisters Social Agony' is the best song you've never heard.
3. The first song 'Suspended From Class' features the sweetest, most singalong chorus ever to feature the repeated use of the word 'arse'
4. You don't have to be a teddy-hugging, woollen-clothes wearing, satchel-wearing, indie-schmindie, stereotype-defining Belle and Sebastian fan to like this.
And like another reviewer said, if it doesn't give you the closest shave you've ever had, I'll give you the money meself. Or something like that.
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Underachievers, Please Try Harder
Underachievers, Please Try Harder by Camera Obscura (Audio CD - 2003)
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