Camera Obscura – Underachievers Please Try Harder

Scottish seven-piece deliver John Peel's favourite album of the year

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How appropriate that this should appear on the Elefant label, for, unlike Elephant, this really does seem to be the sort of record we’d have preferred to emerge from an idealised 1963. Very much in the Belle & Sebastian mode, with three vocalists (two female, one male), this is revitalising indie-pop. Hear your heart break at the Joe Meek soprano who wanders in halfway through “Teenager”. Wonder why no Britpoppers could do Northern Soul as effortlessly and brilliantly as “Let Me Go Home”. The closing chorus of “I’ll keep you safe and warm tonight” on “Knee Deep At The NPL” might be the most touching moment in any pop this year.


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The Waterboys on Room To Roam’s legacy: “We were a lot wilder and more exciting than the record conveyed”

Riding high on the momentum of Fisherman’s Blues, in 1989 The Waterboys reconvened at their new spiritual home in Ireland to make the follow-up. Mike Scott’s plan to broaden the sound didn’t quite go to plan, but as a new box-set reveals, Room To Roam was far from a misfire