"There is something very affirmative about this lot and Awoo is a timely reminder that good old fashioned melody and beautiful harmonies are still bedrock when it comes to pop. "
The Hidden Cameras – Awoo (Rough Trade/Konkurrent)
Ahh, the Hidden Cameras, like a pair of old comforting slippers... Oofph, that doesn't sound "rock", now does it children? Sorry. But there is something very affirmative about this lot. Awoo is a timely reminder that good old fashioned melody and beautiful harmonies are still bedrock when it comes to pop. It starts off like Da Capo era Love with three crackers; Death of a Tune, a lovely jaunty pop song; all beautifully gentle strings and tappety drums. Awoo continues the sixties theme with a Wilson-esque sun-drenched lament (very sunny this LP I'll have you know) with a soaring string-laden chorus and hand claps thrown in for good measure. There's a beautiful quiet ending too. She's Gone should be a massive hit with this (now familiar) Love–style feel to it. The melody surge is built round the words "she's gone", and constantly bobs up like a salmon jumping up stream. Given the song title, it's heart-warming in a very wistful way.
Elsewhere there's the bouncy Lollipop which could have been culled from The Count Five (albeit a slightly straighter Count Five) and Learning the Lie is a charming mix of scrappy violin and driving semi-acoustic, late Velvets style. Follow These Eyes is a bittersweet lament that hinges on a great turn of pace in the refrain, and beautifully complemented with some very versatile string arrangements. Wandering takes a fairly dodgy circular refrain (very reminiscent of Limahl's Never Ending Story for some unknown reason) and transforms it into a lovely dewy-eyed pop song. Near the end, Hump from Bending is a kick out at the US, albeit clothed in a very attractive, melodic coat; the song threatens to lose itself in its own vocal harmonies at times... Last track The Waning Moon ditches the sixties reverie for a moment in its use of samples, but not for long. Soon a banjo led farmyard sing-along develops, very Smile in nature, albeit a song with a serious lyrical content (is it me or is everyone singing about melting icecaps?)
Still, natural Armageddon aside... Awoo is a great heart-warming, summer LP. It is highly recommended for dreamy moments over the last of the Riesling.
Words: Richard Foster.