The Hidden Cameras - Origin: Orphan

by Rich Morris Rating:6 Release Date:2009-11-02

Known for their outrageous live shows and sweet ditties about water sports (the naughty kind) and masturbating geese, here The Hidden Cameras make a bid for grown up pop glory. Their success really depends on how much smiley church music you can stomach.

Still, you have to give them full points for effort. From the jaw-dropping swirling folk of opener 'Ratify the New', which features a spine-chillingly great testifying vocal from mainman Joel Gibb, this is an album that grabs its audience by the throat. 'In the NA' makes use of the kind of burbling, technicolour synth pomp last rocked by ELO. 'He Falls to Me' and 'Colour of a Man' both recall 60s folkies like Simon and Garfunkel and Joan Baez with their rising harmonies and acoustic strumming, but you fear their unwavering cheeriness could rot your teeth through sound alone. In fact, there's something mildly creepy about it, like Gibb is trying to induct you into some happy clappy cult.

However, as it goes on Origin: Orphan starts to shed this slightly grading sound for something more tense and troubled. 'Do I Belong?' kicks off which a cheesy Casio keyboard chug straight out of Wham's 'Last Christmas' before expanding into an unexpectedly funky soul number. 'Kingdom Come' is also great, melodramatic stuff. Unfortunately, later tracks 'Underage' and 'The Little Bit' up the cherry quota again; the latter sounding like something from an inept community outreach production of Hairspray. Final song 'Silence Can Be a Headline' redresses the balance somewhat, injecting some shade and subtlety into its cowboy blues.

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