If this review could be one word long, that word would be "enchanting." Camera Obscura has always been lovely but they've made the jump to truly enchanting with their third album, Let's Get Out of This Country. Stepping fully out of the shadow of their onetime patrons Belle & Sebastian, the group has composed and performed an album that is comparable to B&S' best and ranks with the best indie pop albums ever. More importantly, they've released an album that pierces straight through the heart. Head Camera Tracyanne Campbell writes amazingly intimate and tender ballads that can break your heart with the slightest lyrical twist, swell of strings, or vocal harmony. That she sings these songs in a voice so sweet and direct adds an extra level of feeling to songs like the wrenching "Country Mile" and the almost unbearably melancholy "Tears for Affairs." The band's gentle and restrained playing and the expansive production courtesy of Jari Haapalainen are note perfect as well. Whether rocking out in a Motown manner or lying back with some mellow country-rock, the combination of music, lyrics, melodies, and vocals is, well, enchanting. Picking out highlights is like picking your favorite among your children, but you might find yourself drawn to the witty "Lloyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken" (a 22-years-late response to Lloyd Cole's classic "Are You Ready to Be Heartbroken?"), the aforementioned "Country Mile," the musically relaxed, lyrically bitter "I Need All the Friends I Can Get," or the country tearjerker "Dory Previn," which references the singer/songwriter who had her husband stolen by a very young Mia Farrow and in response wrote the classic breakup song "Beware of Young Girls." Here Campbell turns Previn "up to 11 for the band's ears to bleed" in order to help put her ex out of her mind and delivers her most affecting vocal on the album, which is no small feat on a record as suffused in heartache as Let's Get Out of This Country. You might not find heartache as enchanting as this anywhere else.
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra