Underachievers Please Try Harder Image
Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics What's this?

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7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 14 Ratings

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  • Summary: 'Underachievers' is the first U.S. release for the Glasgow, Scotland-based band, who mine some of the same musical territory as fellow Scots Belle & Sebastian (as well as drawing more than a few Nick Drake comparisons).
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. 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.
  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. A shimmering example of wistful chamber folk-pop.
  4. 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.
  5. They are unprepossessing in style, dainty and sweet in quality.
  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.

See all 14 Critic Reviews

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. Expand
  2. [Anonymous]
    Feb 7, 2004
    9
    This is jaust a wonderful album. Full of dreamy pop. Kindergarten-friends of Belle & Sebastian. Pure Love!!!
  3. pedalphilia
    Feb 1, 2004
    9
    pure pop genius, fools.
  4. 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. Expand
  5. 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. Collapse
  6. selenita
    Feb 16, 2004
    5
    Really looks like Belle & Sebastian 100%
  7. JeffA
    Jan 27, 2004
    1
    This is ridiculous. Just listen to Belle and Sesbastian and Leonard Cohen instead of this weak carbon-copy. Just listen to "Suspended From This is ridiculous. Just listen to Belle and Sesbastian and Leonard Cohen instead of this weak carbon-copy. Just listen to "Suspended From Class" and it will tell you all you need to know - you'll swear you were listening to a Belle and Sebastian song that didn't make the cut for one of their albums. Apparently these guys can't write a song unless they're imitating someone else. Unfortunately for them, it makes more sense to listen to the original band and not this lame rip-off. Boo! Expand