Gig review: Camera Obscura/Ned Collett
Edinburgh Liquid Rooms, March 27, 2007
I must have my head in the clouds at the moment; I only twigged this was happening three days ago. But God must have been smiling on me, there were still tickets available to see the makers of 17 Seconds' album of 2006, and even though the soon to be Mrs. 17 Seconds was working (much to her disappointment; we have really agreed on this band), my mate Dave was up for it.
Support Ned Collett was playing his first gig in the Northern Hemisphere (his words), having met Camera Obscura three weeks ago in Australia. He resembles a young Robert Forster of the Go-Betweens (don't know if he spends his entire inetreviews discussing his hair) and he clearly owns all of Nick Drake's albums. The sound, accompanied just by his electric guitar and effects is pleasant enough, but there's no songs that linger.
Camera Obscura seem to have been forever in the spotlight of Belle and Sebastian, but it's not just at 17 Seconds towers that there have been discussions about which one is the better band. The band have been touring for two months and as such this is them back on their home turf. They sound suitably fragile on record, and live they are very much firing on all cylinders. No indie shambles this. (If I say they're really tight, people might think I'm comparing them to a Jazz Fusion band. And I'm so, SO not. but they are brilliantly, brilliantly together.) Songs like Keep It Clean and Suspended From Class from Underachievers Please Try Harder, as well as more recent numbers like Dora Previn and Lloyd... show that they are up there with the likes of Belle and Sebastian and other indie pop bands, competing on their own terms.
The bloggers last year definitely gave the thumbs up to Let's Get Out Of This Country and it is a fantastic album, which packs a punch live. they have a very Glaswegian - this is meant as a compliment - approach to playing; a sense of humour is much in evidence. They encore with a cover of Abba's Super Trouper, a forthcoming b-side which I suspect will crop up in favourite cover versions posts on blogs for many years to come.
I met Matthew from the Song, By Toad blog at the gig. He reckons they beat B&S live - and on this evidence, I have to agree.