|The Hidden Cameras — Home On Native Land (Oct. 28, 2016)|
The Hidden Cameras — Home On Native Land (Oct. 28, 2016) ♣ Joel Gibb has a history of collecting musicians. His first release under the name the Hidden Cameras was Ecce Homo, which Gibb wrote and recorded on his own and then gathered a group of musicians to performit in as many different venues as he could find. The band continued to grow — at one point reaching 13 members — and the Hidden Cameras rolled out albums like “The Smell of Our Own”, “Mississauga Goddam”, “Origin: Orphan”, “Awoo” and “Age”.
♣ Gibb is at it again, adding to his collection with Home on Native Land, a record almost 10 years in the making that features performances by Mary Margaret O’Hara, Rufus Wainwright, Feist, Neil Tennant, Bahamas and Ron Sexsmith.
♣ “The album is a return to my homeland, after a few years spent living in Berlin. Home on Native Land is an inquisitive ode to Canada; what with the title being a slight grammatical alteration of the first line of the national anthem, I see the album as a return to Canadian soil both philosophically and physically. There’s also some great covers of standards in there as well as brand new songs,” Gibb told The Line of Best Fit. (http://www.cbcmusic.ca/) Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genre: Indie Pop
Album release: October 28th, 2016
Record Label: Outside Music
01. Day I Left Home 3:49
02. He Is the Boss of Me 2:53
03. Ode to an Ah 1:58
04. Dark End of the Street 3:31
05. You and Me Again 4:27
06. Log Driver’s Waltz 3:06
07. Be What I Want 3:32
08. Counting Stars 5:27
09. The Great Reward 3:57
10. Big Blue 3:18
11. Don’t Make Promises 2:03
12. Drunk Dancer’s Waltz 2:53
13. Feeling ‘Bout You 3:19
14. Twilight of the Season 4:32 ♣ The Hidden Cameras bring it back home to release their sixth studio album, Home On Native Land, marking the beginning of a new chapter for singer–songwriter Joel Gibb. An Americana ode to Gibb’s native country, he returns to Canadian soil both physically and philosophically. Written and recorded over ten years by Joel Gibb, this seminal album once again sees Gibb assembling friends, bandmates and icons including Feist, Bahamas, Ron Sexsmith, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Rufus Wainwright, Neil Tennant and longtime collaborator and producer Don Kerr to accompany him on this adventure in revisionist history. On Home On Native Land, The Hidden Cameras explore the expansive musical landscape of the Canadian countryside delivering an album rich with feelings of lonesome cowboy blues and heartbreak to toe–tapping rhythms and campfire sing–a–longs. Each song is a journey beckoning the listener to follow — to gather ‘round the fire, sing until you fall asleep and share the same dream’. It’s a place that you might not have been before but which feels like home. The Hidden Cameras borrows from the classic country songbook, reimagining soulful standards like “Dark End of the Street,” and “Don’t Make Promises” originally recorded by Tim Harden. “Log Driver’s Waltz” is The Hidden Camera’s cover of one of the most successful and beloved Canadian folk songs of all time. “He is the Boss of Me,” is Gibb covering himself with a rerecording of an early 4–track demo from 2001’s Ecce Homo, now given a full studio treatment. Transitioning into the genre with infectious melodies on the original tracks “Big Blue” and “Drunk Dancer’s Waltz,” with Home On Native Land, The Hidden Cameras reach into the past to find new ground, while singing playfully pointed lyrics oozing with hopefulness and sorrow.
♣ Within Joel Gibb’s every move lies the steadfast elegance of a conductor. Fervently~tempered, yet exquisite like a floral bouquet on a Victorian chest. Somewhere between Oscar Wilde and Charles Baudelaire, sumptuous, unbridled.
♣ Since 2001, the Canadian has played with his band The Hidden Cameras. In the churches of Toronto he staged the most legendary nights of the city. Male gogo dancers offered a performative space for overturning normative categories, questioning religion, and celebrating sexuality. Gibb shaped Toronto’s music scene at a time when it was practically nonexistent. He was the first Canadian artist to sign with Rough Trade. In the meantime, Joel Gibb lives in Berlin and has found his place, as songwriter and as artist. On “AGE”, he is no longer concerned with who he is, but rather, with how he came to be.
♣ “‘AGE’ deconstructs my musical roots”. There are the faintest references in every piece, almost inaudibly miniature, but they are there. Actually, to understand “AGE”, you have to place your ear to the ground and try to will yourself to hear the growth of the roots beneath its surface while closing your eyes and sifting out all other sounds, including your own heartbeat.
♣ With “Year of the Spawn”, there are trumpets, trombones, a French horn, and behind this thicket, between the ghostly overtones, the ice~cold drum beat of Bauhaus’ “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” flickers throughout the second verse. Chilly Gonzales is on the piano. Joel Gibb works like a graphic artist. He engineers meticulous sound~sculptures and collages whose exactitude stays concealed at first behind an aesthetic of extremely harmonious, yet also dreary, pop music.
♣ “Gay Goth Scene”, for example, was originally intended as a joke, as an ironic finger exercise. Now, it sounds sacred like a requiem for forbidden love. The song is already more than ten years old. Gibb wrote it while still living at his mother’s. In Toronto, he even organized Gay Goth Scene shows with friends. Once again, beneath layers of violins and Gibb’s dark baritone, one finds a meta~level that hints toward his childhood. Mary Margaret O’Hara’s voice is also to be heard on the track. The same Mary Margaret O’Hara who can be heard in Morrissey’s “November Spawned a Monster”.
♣ “AGE” is, to a certain extent, Joel Gibb’s coming~of~age album. He retrospectively explores the most diverse shades of age. Age should not only be comprehended in terms of years; its meanings are too multi~layered. Age can mean anything, but above all, age means to assume moral responsibility. It is no coincidence that Bradley Manning’s profile by GB Jones graces the album’s inside cover. We already live in the Bradley Manning age. For Gibb, Manning is one rare man with decency who has acted honorably with regard to his human responsibilities. Gibb presents Manning as an icon, as a queer freedom~fighter.
♣ For Gibb, being a songwriter means writing about what you know and to take on responsibility. Honesty is his supreme maxim. “If I can’t be honest with oneself, what kind of a bad artist will I be?” Age is a manifesto of truth written primarily in F~minor. And F~minor, we all know, is the key of lament and dejection, yet also of longing and a dark, helpless melancholy. Like with Wilde and Baudelaire, it can also be seen with Gibb that behind every flowery aesthetic is a skeptic looking out the window.
• Ecce Homo (2001)
• The Smell of Our Own (2003)
• Mississauga Goddam (2004)
• Awoo (2006)
• Origin: Orphan (2009)
• Age (2014)
• Home on Native Land (2016)
|The Hidden Cameras — Home On Native Land (Oct. 28, 2016)|