Scottish band Camera Obscura stands by pop 

"Let’s get out of this country, I have been so unhappy," Tracyanne Campbell sings on the title track of the third and most recent album by her band, Camera Obscura. If breaking out of its native Scotland was the cure for the malaise, the Glaswegian sextet has cause to celebrate. Since its release in June 2006, "Let’s Get Out of This Country" has been creating major waves in the American indie music scene.

On Friday, San Francisco fans can hear Camera Obscura’s unique sound for themselves. The band plays Bimbo’s 365 Club for a one-night-only performance, its second-to-last U.S. stop this tour.

Lead guitarist Kenny McKeeve says, "The past six months have been quite a big difference for the group. … Ever since ‘Let’s Get Out of This Country’ came out, everything has kind of gone up several notches. It’s great to go from ambling around for a few years, to sort of suddenly having a go at it."

Packed with a shimmering collection of sweetly textured pop gems, the album teeters between optimistic, upbeat melodies and Campbell’s delicately melancholic vocals.

The band can be difficult to categorize, a contentious point for its members.

"We always just describe ourselves as pop, as pop music," McKeeve says. "If other people want to kind of try to squeeze in little subgenres, that’s entirely up to them, but to us, it’s pop, and I don’t think we can narrow it down any further than that."

McKeeve refers to the tendency of critics to rely on the adjective "twee" to describe the band’s hybridized sound, a term loosely defined as a simple, perhaps overly sweet style of pop music.

"It’s something that we generally regard as kind of a ridiculous kind of term to use in description of the band," McKeeve says. "It just kind of means, ‘I’m not really paying close attention to the music.’"

However one chooses to describe the band, Camera Obscura is evolving rapidly, only recently beginning to realize its full potential.

"We’ve gone from being a bit reluctant to play live to really being a touring band," McKeeve says. "It’s exciting for us, to go from having just one or two people fighting in our corner, to having lots of people around the world who are saying good things about the band."

Camera Obscura

Where: Bimbo’s 365 Club, 1025 Columbus Ave., San Francisco

When: 9 p.m. Friday

Tickets: $17

Contact: (415) 474-0365,

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Staff Report

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