The Hidden Cameras: Origin: Orphan

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The Hidden Cameras 

Written By:

Brad Kelly

15th October 2009
At 18:52 GMT

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Five albums into their career and with an album title we wish we would've thought of, we were expecting 'Origin: Orphan' to be The Hidden Cameras musical zenith, their pinnacle and perhaps even an album to take into consideration for the impending end of year lists.

With deep regret and a head hung low, we realised upon our first listen that we were once again sucker-punched by the pre-release hype.

It's a mess, a confused infusion of varying aspirations, none of which fully realise themselves over the LP and only some that offer a peak into what the band where aiming to do originally. Genre specification is the main problem and rears it's head almost immediately. 

They're mainly bolted to the realm of indie-pop but they veer into more experimental territory throughout. Whilst it's nice to see a band not afraid to shake things up once in while, it's a shame that half the time, it really doesn't work in their favour.

Track two and first single In The NA is possibly the most irritating moment over the near-fifty minute CD and attempts to work on the single vice of finishing almost every lyric with "In the naaa". Instrumentally, it's actually passable but the puerile lyricism and frustrating, inappropriate vocal tones of each successive line grates way too much for its four minute twenty second duration. Contrasting that is the surprising He Falls To Me which sounds like a part Dodos, part Shins mash-up. It actually works well, sitting as one of the most accomplished tracks on the record and standing as an early highlight on a CD that's both troubled and unpredictably majestic all at once. 

The biggest misstep seems to be their juggling of two ideas; one sickly sweet, one tentative and mature. They cross over too much and muddle the bands intentions but even when they are separated, they just contradict each other and unsettle even further. Underage has the rhythm and melody of a forgotten Abba track whereas Colour Of A Man is a gentle, folky anthem that's tightly woven and a pleasure to witness. That's all well and good but it openly highlights the opposing struggle of decent material fighting awkwardly against the monotonous material.

The Little Bit is a poppy jaunt into even more frustrating vocal pronunciation and poppy melodies, throwing in a few crashing cymbals, trumpets and crescendos as if they're soundtracking a parade of little dancing elves at a theme park no one's heard of. It's just all thrown together with messy glue and tape and expected to pass an art exam which, unfortunately, it is not.

There's plenty of bits and pieces to be mildly enjoyed throughout Origin: Orphan but it's overall longevity, depth and artistic direction leaves it struggling for breath in an ocean filled with buoyant superiors. 

Rating:  5 / 10

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