• Record Label: Merge
  • Release Date: Jan 20, 2004
Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. A shimmering example of wistful chamber folk-pop.
  2. Captures a portion of the wispy bedsit magic that used to mark some of The Field Mice's best work and boosts it with the lush, "Hazey Jane II"-like chamber-pop of Belle & Sebastian's first flourishes of glory.
  3. To completely dismiss Camera Obscura for their willingness to partake in this musical grand theft or K-Tel like attitude toward repackaging former eras of music would be unfair; free of the burden of meliorating an individual sound, they’ve been able to craft a consistently enjoyable collection of pop songs that inhabit the passion and style of the music they so clearly love.
  4. A necessary addition to the collection of Belle & Sebastian fans, indie pop fans, and music lovers.
  5. Not emo, exactly -- more like twee-mo.
  6. If you're a fan of Belle and Sebastian, Under Achievers Please Try Harder makes a perfect counterpart to, say, Tigermilk, and you'd be hard-pressed not to enjoy yourself amidst its indie-pop finger-snapping and Isobel Campbell-like vocals.
  7. If Camera Obscura weren't roughly the thousandth band to recombine the pastoral sounds and adolescent exploitation of the '60s, it would be easier to work up some enthusiasm for Underachievers, especially since the group's melodies are catchy enough that they don't need the cutesy trappings.
  8. What separates them from their peers is a refreshing feminine perspective that draws from '60s girl groups and the conflicted teenage angst of Leslie Gore.
  9. 80
    Revitalising indie-pop. [Feb 2004, p.78]
  10. They are unprepossessing in style, dainty and sweet in quality.
  11. Like vintage B&S, this Glasgow group's sound ranges from full-blown orchestration to tunes on which a lot of musicians make very little noise. [Mar 2004, p.94]
  12. The group's strength and distinguishing characteristics rest in its superior sense of melody.
  13. Upon first listen, it seems easy to say that you've heard this before -- but if you take the time to let it sink in, it is obviously not the same band or sound as Belle and Sebastian.
  14. Nothing exciting ever happens, no new spins on the old-fashioned pop idiom or particularly colorful lyrical images, and the record's overarching lack of adventuresome spirit detracts from the grace of its individual songs.
User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 14 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 7
  2. Negative: 1 out of 7
  1. shygazerE
    Jul 20, 2006
    10
    Imitation is the best form of flattery stupid! This album is not only the best album of the decade but it's better than anything B&S has Imitation is the best form of flattery stupid! This album is not only the best album of the decade but it's better than anything B&S has ever recorded. Besides every band borrows from their infleunces. Look at the Stooges and Aerosmith with the Rolling Stones or Oasis with the Beatles. Full Review »
  2. zeebee
    May 11, 2005
    8
    The album beautifully occupies the intersection of Belle & Sebastian and 60's girl-bands. It conveys both the outdoor sunshine and The album beautifully occupies the intersection of Belle & Sebastian and 60's girl-bands. It conveys both the outdoor sunshine and bedroom lonliness of summer. To me it's a much more satisfying listen than Saturday Looks Good To Me, which seems to work similar ground and makes a much better point of reference than B&S. Full Review »
  3. TimE
    Jan 13, 2005
    9
    Some of the greatest pop songs you'll ever hear period. Yes they imitate B&S from time to time and they even have a little of The Some of the greatest pop songs you'll ever hear period. Yes they imitate B&S from time to time and they even have a little of The Sundays in them as well but who better to imitate than some of the greatest bands on the planet. Full Review »