I absolutely adored 'The Smell of Our Own' The Smell of Our Own and so probably wanted this to be the same, which I admit is a tad daft. This is a further develoopment of Joel Gibbs genius and is an excellent album by any standards, I only gave 4 stars as it is not the 100% rollercoaster that his first work was.
I agree that 'Lollipop' has a resonance with Plastic Bertrand and that there are not the towering harmonies that have appeared elsewhere, still there is an abundance of melodies and ideas that are far away enough from the main stream to not appear on Google earth (metaphorically). 'Fee Fie' is beautiful and 'She's Gone' is my current favourite, there is an avant garde esque instrumental in 'heji' and more thought in the lyrics than comes in an entire chart run down, no rhyming 'dove' with ,love' etc. n 'Heaven turns to' could come from a West End musical and it would be easy to get some singles from here but that would be missing the point. And all in all I am enjoying it more with every listen so am actually highly recommending, shame about the lack of water sports directions though.
The Hidden Cameras are a gorgeous, irreverant cross between The Proclaimers and early REM. Man ALIVE! I love them. They are infectiously beautiful, tunefully gorgeous and brilliantly fabulous! Camp as Christmas and dirty as sin - how can you not tap your foot and love them. I want to hug Joel to death. What an awesome LP, every song could be a single. I want to give them a thousand million stars.
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.
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.
Hidden Cameras carry on with the splendid form shown on 'The Smell of Our Own' and 'Missassauga Goddam'.
A lot is made of the fact that the band sing songs about gay sex and other practices. This should not cloud the fact that they are about the finest writers of uplifting music. All the songs are sung with an almost religious zeal that is infectious.
'Death of a tune' is a rush of blood to open the album. from there on in the album ebbs and flows beautifully. In 'Heavens Turns To' they have crafted one of the prettiest songs ever written. However it has a whole raft of songs to compete with - Wandering is also a gorgeous lullaby.
'For fun' is a string laden stomp that lives up to its title.