For a good portion of their concert last night at the Wexner Center, Camera Obscura was a 12-legged stereotype. Wearing fancy clothes and stoic expressions, the Scottish indie pop sextet played wonderful music without a hint of passion. But eventually they loosened up, if only a little, and even cracked a smile or two.

For a good portion of their concert last night at the Wexner Center, Camera Obscura was a 12-legged stereotype. Wearing fancy clothes and stoic expressions, the Scottish indie pop sextet played wonderful music without a hint of passion. But eventually they loosened up, if only a little, and even cracked a smile or two.

Along the way, they played some fine tunes. Their execution was as prim and proper as one would expect, with nary a sour note from the sourpusses in just over an hour of music. They tip-toed the line between old-school girl groups and jangly bookworm pop with expert control of their instruments perhaps too much control. Occasional trumpet blasts did nothing to wrestle Camera Obscura away from Belle and Sebastian in my consciousness, but added plenty to Tracyanne Campbell's soaring pop fantasies.

I only know a single here and there, so most of the material was unfamiliar, but it seemed like the latter half of the show benefitted as much from a ramping up in energy as from the requisite "bigger hits." The band seemed perplexed by how quiet and attentive the Wexner Center crowd was, (rightfully, I'm sure) chalking it up to the absence of booze. But eventually after they chided the Wex for forbidding flash photography (incidentally, a rule imposed by the band and its management, not the venue), they began to goof off some, and by the time they wrapped up the encore with a practically hallucinatory instrumental passage, they were like a real live rock band up there.

Regarding all the jabs about these folks being stiffs: I should note that the bass player, the percussion/trumpet guy and even the dorky-cute keyboard gal were getting into serious grooves throughout the performance. It's just that the people up front were like fey Scottish androids, and it sucked a lot of life out of some brilliant songwriting. Nonetheless, brilliant songwriters they are, and no matter how lifeless the performance, a great song will always deliver some modicum of pleasure, even if it's just cool refreshment and not hot-blooded passion.