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Literate, baroque but sometimes daft pop,
This review is from: Awoo (Audio CD)
The Hidden Cameras hail from Canada and are part skew wiff pop specialists rather like their fellow Canadians Broken Social Scene and part theatrical phenomenon. At their core they are Joel Gibb who writes all the songs, sings and produces and then ropes in many of the players in the bohemian Toronto scene to embellish his ideas and arrangements.
Anyone familiar with their previous albums -"The Smell Of Our Own " and " Missisauga Goddam" - will know what to expect here, pert and succulent tunes paraded with extraneous violins, violas., cellos, xylophone and glockenspiel. Sometimes ,as is the case with the tumultuous title track , its just pure pop alchemy .On the surface a bit daft but the lyrics prove a divergent view , or as Gibbs puts it "how sweet is the curd of my own written qualities ". Elsewhere "Heaven Turns To" is a baroque stately orchestrated number while "Fee Fie" and "Follow These Eyes" offer a delicious meander along the border of chamber music and a fulsome folk pop hybrid. "For Fun" is just that, with its daffy harmonies and gleeful stop /start arrangement.
She's Gone" veers hilariously close to the dance floor which is not bad for a song that starts "Sitting alone, I feel dread". "The WAning Moon" intriguingly credits Don Kerr with pebble sequencing and Gibb with a piece of wood .The song is like Violent Femmes in a un -unfeasibly good mood. "Death Of A Tune" is comparatively helter skelter and placed in the middle of the album would be a welcome change of pace so with entirely typical perversity is the first track. "Lollipop" sounds worryingly like Plastic Bertrand.
A couple of songs are not up to the usual standards of eccentric excellence but taken as a whole this is a terrific pop album not so much interested in the extraneous glamour and sheen of pop ephemera like say The Scissor Sisters - not that there is anything wrong with that - but with something more tangible and heartfelt. The Hidden Cameras focus their glossy but, out of focus lens on the frailties, failings and foibles endemic to us all.