Photo of the Hidden Cameras’ frontman, Joel Gibb, from The Music Gallery, April 2, 2006.
The new Hidden Cameras album, Awoo, has leaked, well before its August 18th release date. There are two reasons that you, the average Torontoist reader, should care about Awoo and the Hidden Cameras: the album is really good [refer below to point #1] and Mississauga kindof sucks [refer below to point #2].
1.Awoo is undoubtedly excellent gay-folk-church-indie-pop. The best songs are the ones that are instantly likeable: “Lollipop,” which proves that you can be annoying and awesome at the same time; “Death Of A Tune,” with its very familiar (for fans of the band at least) chord structure and chorus/verse layout; the very pretty “Fee Fie” and very unpredictable “Heji.” But Awoo is a grower, not a shower, and most of the rest of the tracks require a few listens to really appreciate, especially those on the second half.
Awoo is not without its faults: it sounds a little too polished and over-produced at times (especially on title track “Awoo,” a still-terrific song that sometimes sounds too laidback and not nearly rough enough), and sometimes the gimmicks (for example, Joel Gibb’s high-pitched yelp in “Learning The Lie,” another still-excellent song) can get a little tedious. The absolute worst thing that to say about this album is that, as a whole, it doesn’t sound different enough from the band’s previous releases (2004’s Mississauga Goddam, 2003’s The Smell Of Our Own, and 2001’s Ecce Homo): the Cameras certainly have a set formula for their songs, and it hasn’t changed much with this release. Experimentation isn’t always a necessary thing, of course, and neither is drastic change, but it’d be great to see the band try something different. The talent is certainly there.
2.The band is probably the best thing to ever come out of Mississauga. I have friends from Mississauga, and they’re not as awesome as The Hidden Cameras. Just today, in fact, I was in Mississauga. Deep in cookie-cutter, drive to 7/11, dead-quiet-all-the-time-except-for-you-and-your-friends Mississauga. All I had to tide me over was the sweet sound of Awoo.
The band, luckily, shares a view of Mississauga that many of Toronto’s residents seem to hold: Mississauga – especially living there – kinda sucks. Take, for example, the lyrics from the ultra-resentful track “Mississauga Goddam” off the album of the same name: “Mississauga skyline / Filled with the shadows of the power lines / With the garbage and refuge we’ll build a mountain to the moon / on top of Mississauga goddam.” Take that Mississauga!
The Hidden Cameras have no tour dates scheduled in Toronto for now, but there are two shows that aren’t too far away from our urban paradise: July 28-30 in Guelph at the Hillside Festival, and on August 12 in Kingston. But if you already dislike Mississauga, god only knows what you think of Kingston. Awoo is out on August 18th on Rough Trade Records.