Release Date: Sep 8, 2017
Record label: Secretly Canadian
Alex Cameron is a sleazeball. Or rather, “Alex Cameron” is a sleazeball. On his 2016 debut, Jumping the Shark, the Australian raconteur presented himself as a lounge-lizard lecher best described by a line from the song “Real Bad Lookin’”: “I am the dumbest richest guy at the bar.” He was a Neil Hamburger who delivered skeezy synth-pop come-ons, instead of bad one-liners, a one-man Suicide playing for the passed-out drunks under the flickering neon beer-logo signage at Trader Vic’s.
Last year, Secretly Canadian unearthed a gem from Australian singer Alex Cameron in Jumping The Shark, a debut originally self-released in 2013. Equal parts Suicide, Cold Cave and John Maus, he created something pretty special. Songs like 'The Comeback' and 'Take Care Of Business' are minor synthpop classics in their own right, but were elevated to another level by lyrics that established an enigmatic failed musician persona.
But if you were to hear Cameron's debut, you would think quite the opposite of this facade. Cameron's songs on Jumping the Shark were comical, intense and exceedingly focused, which made it unclear as to how Cameron could adopt a "failed" alter-ego. There was nothing but promise between every note, paving the way for a modern man with an extremely specific mystique and poise.
For his debut album, Jumping The Shark, Australia’s Alex Cameron disguised himself under latex wrinkles and inhabited shady characters over eight tracks of bargain-basement meta-synth-pop. For the sequel, the wrinkles have gone and the production has been upgraded for new exercises in artifice: here, Cameron styles himself as an investigator with the inside juice on feckless manhood. Despite a strong opening stretch, what Cameron doesn’t have is enough good songs to sustain the arch conceit. Witness starts well enough, Candy May resembling synth-era Leonard Cohen doing a sleazy FM-pop pastiche and the sax-strafed neo-funk of Country Figs goosing male self-delusion in the spirit of The National’s All The Wine.