Release Date: Aug 19, 2016
Record label: Secretly Canadian
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
"I ain't every man I wanted to be," Alex Cameron sings on Jumping the Shark, but over the course of the album, he's more than a few. Cameron's solo debut album introduces him as a meta-singer/songwriter: though he's best known as a member of the electronic pop trio Seekae, in Jumping the Shark's world, he's a down-on-his-luck performer with a saxophone player and "business partner" named Roy Molloy. Cameron uses this theatricality to sell Shark's portraits of failure, capturing them with a complex mix of humor, beauty, and poignancy.
“Been in showbiz long enough/ You get a grip on how things work” Fail, they say. Fail again, and fail better, as if failure is merely a means to an end, if one could only drill through to the other side of the mountain. But, in everything from our mortal bodies to the Blockbuster Twitter account as we hurtle thru the anthropocene, we ought be moved to ponder decline in more urgent terms than merely insisting on our own stubborn stick-toitive-ness.
Upon leaving electronic outfit Seekae to embark on a solo career, Australian musician Alex Cameron started committing to his stage character by applying latex wrinkles, scars, and pockmarks to his face before each public performance or appearance. These can be seen pretty clearly on the album cover of his debut solo album Jumping the Shark. Though the record is seeing official release this month, the photo was taken back in 2014, when the album was originally given away for free on Cameron’s charming “Remember Geocities, guys ;-))) ???” website.
Alex Cameron’s album, Jumping the Shark, is unnerving. From the very beginning, you are placed into this dark, dank basement of a narrative. Then he turns on the hanging bulb light and stares you down. He tells you some creepy stories about his life in show business. He tap dances and makes you ….
On his succinct, eight-song debut release as a solo artist, Jumping the Shark, Alex Cameron embodies a number of curious, downtrodden characters. The title refers to an attempt by a long-running work (a television show, for example) to remain fresh, usually fuelled by desperation or panic. Over the half-hour runtime, Cameron pieces together the narratives of various losers whose lives seem to revolve around failure: a talk show host that "used to be the number one entertainer," and who longs to "get his show back"; a fellow who's unemployed and "living with (his) folks now, but (he) can still get around" and find his happy ending; and someone starting a new life on the internet.
Alex Cameron’s arresting video for ‘Take Care Of Business’ is a pastiche-slash-homage to Nick Cave: all sharp suit, wide collar, swept-back hair, deathly baritone croon and preacher-y hand movements in a seedy nightclub. There’s also the one for ‘She’s Gone’, in which he does a weird crouching Future Islands style dance. In slo-mo. On the roof of a car.
“Jumping the shark” refers to the desperation Hail Mary of a past-its-prime television program trying to do anything to maintain the attention of its viewers. It’s a fitting title for Alex Cameron’s rich new record, which is filled with tales of people largely either fretting over how to return to the glory days or too far gone to realize that they’ve long since left their prime. Cameron hails from Sydney, but there’s a distinct sense of deliberate Americana in his voice, music, and subject matter.