The title alone tells you almost everything you need to know about The Hidden Cameras' third album. It's a contagious celebration that's playfully puerile and totally bereft of pretension.
The first single, also titled Awoo, captures this exuberance perfectly. Kinetic guitar chords give birth to jittery glockenspiel and a Pet Sounds-esque bassline, before the chorus lets loose strings and harmonies. The song is reprised at the end of the album as the WAning mOOn (check the not-so-subtle capitalisation) and despite different lyrics, melody and arrangement the song progresses in exactly the same way. The two songs explore two distinct sides of the album (celebratory pop vs. mid-tempo folk balladry) and they reveal just how much The Hidden Cameras can accomplish, even when just rejigging a few chords.
Elsewhere, Death Of A Tune is irresistible country-rock and Lollipop offers relentless stattaco verses, not entirely removed from REM's It's End Of The World As We Know It. For Fun, at just over five minutes, is uncharacteristically epic, but the serene instrumental breakdowns and emphatic choruses maintain the album's momentum. The eerie, distorted violin that creeps into She's Gone is further indication of the Cameras' willingness to tinker; likewise the triangle-like chime that brings each of Fee Fie's verses to a conclusion
Lyrically, The Hidden Cameras remain deceptively clever. Most critics dismissed the explicit sexual imagery of their debut album as an unnecessary gimmick, misconstruing the fact that I Want Another Enema concerned itself with the politics of how people perceive their bodies and Golden Streams was about journeying to heaven. Awoo still contains the same unique take on sex, love and politics of the body - if you're willing to scratch the surface - but Joel Gibbs has laced his sentiments in language less likely to be misinterpreted.
While Awoo doesn't necessarily mark a huge musical departure from The Hidden Cameras' previous two albums, with the mask of juvenility removed, Awoo makes it clear that band leader Joel Gibbs is one of indie's finest songwriters. Repeated listening of his latest attempt at guiding his band mates through forty-minutes of affecting and fun pop music is likely to remain one of the year's highlights.