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Culture

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Sound Advice: Origin:Orphan by The Hidden Cameras

Every Tuesday, Torontoist scours record store shelves in search of the city’s most notable new releases and brings you the best—or sometimes just the biggest—of what we’ve heard in Sound Advice.

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If you haven’t bothered to familiarize yourself with the overly precocious sounds of Toronto’s revered Hidden Cameras, their fifth (already?) full-length might be a good place to start. Out next Tuesday on what seems like a long-lost perfect home for the Cameras’ strange and wonderful indie-rock orchestra, Arts&Crafts, Origin:Orphan has tons of fan-ready appeal but burns slower than past releases, revealing a start-to-finish long-play that might appeal to a fresh crop of attention spans.
It’s a typically flamboyant affair, though one that jumps genres a little more fluidly. Ringleader Joel Gibb and co. bounce from their usual Shins-esque quirk-balladry of “Colour of a Man” to the cinematic synth-and-strings dramatics of “Walk On,” and before you can say Interpol, the opening ooh-aahs and super-cheese drums (programmed instead of tracked twelve times and reverbed to hell, natch) of “Underage” (streaming above) evoke the perpetually and shamelessly uplifting and refreshing feel of something from Paul Simon’s Graceland. Not bad for a group of Canadian indie rockers that most definitely did not record with Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Gibb can still nail a melody like no other; listen to first single “In the NA” and collect five dollars if you don’t have it in your head for days. Many, many, delirious days.
Call it the Cameras’ biggest strength and/or their biggest weakness, but, unfortunately, the high memorability is primarily reliant on this incessant repetition; it might be a formula tailor-made for fat wallets via electronics or car commercials, but on an album, it can get cloying. Regardless, Gibb was and remains one of the definitive forces in acceptably weird Canadian art-pop, and so as he croons “Do I Belong?” from the safety of his new(ish) label’s womb, we can reassure him, of course you do, Joel. Of course you do. If you don’t, who does?

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