Sometimes you just want some rock. You don’t want the orchestral strings, the tinkling synthesizers …
Alex Cameron ’s Jumping the Shark is such crucial material it’s hard to believe it took three years for a major indie label (Secretly Canadian) to put it out. Originally given away for free through Cameron’s website in late 2013, the eight-song collection establishes the former member of electronic trio Seekae as something of a synth wave auteur, a songwriter of rare empathy in a department where you wouldn’t expect to find one.
Blow by blow, Jumping the Shark weaves together stories of washed-up maybe-weres and desperate lovers, of too-big-to-succeed delusions and failure. The bizarre poignancy of the album is encapsulated by the cover photograph of Cameron done up like a scarred former high-roller. In fact, when he debuted this material years ago, Cameron initially wore the odd makeup, playing the part for audiences and blurring the lines between fiction and reality.
As a “star” of the nascent revitalized interest in synths, Cameron never for a second stoops to anything like revivalism. As with John Maus and Geneva Jacuzzi, the backing track is always simple but undeniably delicious, propping up the narrative with hooks that manage to be as textural as catchy. What’s more, Cameron’s smoky baritone carries an air of nonchalance without seeming like he’s putting you on (his protagonist always has a lot riding on this pitch). It took a while for this guy to get a moment in the sun, but if anybody deserves it it’s him.»
– Matthew Sweeney
*Alex Cameron will open for Thee Oh Sees on Nov. 27 at Revolution Hall. Tickets here.