The Hidden Cameras

>"Ratify the New," the leadoff track on the Hidden Cameras' Origin: Orphan, begins with a two-and-a-half-minute drone that accurately presages the often ponderous, dirge-like orchestral pop that permeates the rest of the album. Although a Middle Eastern sensibility briefly surfaces along with some swirling psychedelia, Joel Gibb's operatic vocals and accumulated bombast nearly send "Ratify" through the roof. The sunny, impish playfulness that Gibb is renowned for injecting into the Cameras' so-called "gay church folk music" is mostly out of the picture. Instead, Serious Intent seems to dominate. "Walk On" is a grandiose crawl, the title track is bleak, and "Silence Can Be a Headline" strains so hard to end things with a grand statement that it essentially blows up into a massive headache. A human pulse surfaces here and there, most significantly on the catchy new wavy workout "In the Na," but the Cameras' current focus is a bit askew. The group's customary over-the-top stage show should make amends. Opening will be fellow Toronto singer-songwriter Gentleman Reg—a.k.a. Reg Vermue—whose well-crafted indie-pop remains sprightly. 18+.
Wed., Dec. 2, 8 p.m., 2009

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