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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.


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?


  • http://undefined Justin Beach

    I’ve heard three songs from this so far. While ‘Walk On’ didn’t grab me the way the other two have – In the NA does get stuck in your head but my favorite of the three is He Falls to Me (live video from the Phoenix). It’s going to be a Hidden Cameras album. If you’ve liked the others you’ll like this one too.

  • David Topping

    I was definitely in the very very front row of that concert—in 2007. You can mostly see my arms in the video, ’cause I was the first person who every single person in the choir first crowd-surfed onto.
    Anyway, Justin, you can hear four songs from the album if you click the little “play” button below the album’s cover above.

  • http://undefined trevor

    lol Graceland comparison!

  • http://undefined dob467

    Um – I can only hear underage. Anyone else have that same problem??

  • rek

    I’ve had Walk On in looping play for over a week.

  • Nicole Villeneuve

    I think David was replying to a comment from Justin, who said he’d heard only three songs from the new album, when if he listened to “Underage” he’d have listened to four. Each Sound Advice features just one track from an album.