On their Facebook page, Camera list themselves as “pop-noir” and cite many directors as creative influences. For a band based so heavily around film, one would expect a grand, cinematic sound, but instead, Camera is the soundtrack for an indie flick that never existed. Their latest offering, The Panic and the Permanence, embodies this with its ten tracks of noise rock.
Beyond the post-punk feel in the style of Interpol and Joy Division, the most notable aspect of Camera’s sound is Justin Scro’s exaggerated voice. Sometimes smooth and sometimes almost comically dramatic, it falls somewhere in between Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse and Harry McVeigh from White Lies. Pitted against the synth-pop of the band, a sound not unlike The Hives surfaces. While not incredibly difficult to wrap your ear around, Camera’s sound demands attentiveness to their range of sounds and textures.
A four-on-the-floor bass beat and Scro’s voice kick off the album in “Grazed By Bullets,” a misleading opener. Its jazz jungle sound is atypical of the other tracks on the record, and while not a turn-off, it doesn’t do the band justice. A more appropriate track is “Nuclear,” which begins with a bouncy, playful guitar riff and a more relaxed vocal. The song is almost three minutes of concentrated chaos that catches Camera at their best.
“On A Night Like This” might have been a bland track if not for the chilled interlude that closes the song, where guitars and ambient vocals induce a trance-like head-bopping. On the other hand, “The Negotiator” is constantly upbeat with hints of fifties malt shop tunes in its structure. This isn’t the only song with a doo-wop feel––the slow dance that is “A Place I Know” features motown-based vocals and background chants. The busy “Debris” is a solid representation of the band’s garage rock sound, the verses driven by bass and drums with a guitar handling the central melody.
The basis for Camera’s sound seems to come down to two elements––Scro’s voice and the post-punk instrumental. Those who favor the Rocky Horror Picture Show-esque vocals (the beginning of “Pop Radio 101” demonstrates this nice) will enjoy the album, while those who prefer a more balanced tone will gravitate toward such tunes as “Nuclear” and “Buried Alive.” The band have a unique element to their sound, and those who own at least one Depeche Mode or Arcade Fire release will find something to like here. However, for those who aren’t in love with the electro-pop of the eighties, a less eclectic album would be a better choice.
MP3: Camera “Nuclear”