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The Hidden Cameras - Mississauga Goddam


Review: Jack Foley

IT'S interesting that The Hidden Cameras should release their second album on the same week that The Polyphonic Spree deliver theirs, thereby providing listeners with a way-out musical cocktail they can truly get drunk on.

Yet, while the uplifting melodies and high number of group members (12) remains the same, there is very much a different feel to this album, given the explicit nature of much of the content.

The debut album, The Smell of Our Own, pulled a similar track, by wrapping some Sixties-coated melodies around lyrics about being urinated on during sex in such a way that you barely registered the content.

Hell, some of the tunes would probably have your mother tapping her foot along to them, before frowning with despair once much of the lyrical content becomes apparent.

Mississauga Goddam furthers that exploration of sexual do's and don'ts (ie. what's accepted and what's not), with similarly magical melodies, and equally explosive lyrics.

Music is My Boyfriend, for instance, is loaded with sexual puns, as are tracks such as In The Union of Wine and We Oh We, as though lead singer, Joel Gibb, the self-dubbed master of ceremonies, feels honour-bound by his sexuality to include some reference into every song.

Elsewhere, tracks such as I Want Another Enema carry a pretty emotive chorus, but come wrapped in the sort of folk-laden, happy-go-lucky melodies that the likes of Belle and Sebastian, or REM might produce.

It's a heady mix, for sure, but it works. For in spite of some of the subject matter, and the suspicion that the Hidden Cameras are going out of their way to be controversial, you can't help but appreciate most of the songs.

Without question, they are uplifting affairs, and come without much of the preachy pretensions of the Polyphonic's latest long-player.

Only rarely does Gibb's anger threaten to spill over at some people's attitudes to being gay, as in the title track, but you have to listen closely, because the melodies, once more, remain so damn upbeat.

For that reason alone, you have to tip your hat to the Cameras, and confess that the musical picture they paint is instantly attractive, even if the greater meaning takes a little more time to develop.

But then what else could you expect from a Toronto-based outfit that is known for moulding and adapting their personnel and performances, depending on where
they perform, and who have consistently gone out of their way to play in unusual settings.

Churches, art galleries, porn cinemas and old peoples’ homes have all played host to these eclectic happenings, and the finishing touches are even being put to a similarly titled short film, to be shown at future live shows, which features the group depicted as various animals.

Sometimes it's good to be different... and cult status surely beckons.

Track listing:
1. Doot Doot Plot
2. Builds The Bone
3. Fear Is On
4. That's When The Ceremony Starts
5. I Believe In The Good Of Life
6. In The Union Of Wine
7. Music Is My Boyfriend
8. Bboy
9. We Oh We
10. I Want Another Enema
11. Mississauga Goddam

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