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THE INSTANT CAMERA
On their most recent effort, "Alive at Departure", the group echoes recent fashionable throwback trends but manages to inject them with a very zany, almost psychotic attitude. The larynx of lead singer Neil Dez alternates between a writhing warble and a laid back Michael Stipe-like stutter. The band accompanies him with a hodgepodge of progressive 80's keyboard licks, thumping bass-lines and flashes of delayed guitar strums.
The Instant Camera's bizarre attempts to cross-pollinate various strains of rock, everything from Gang of Four inspired disco to prog-influenced Police sounds, often results in an entertaining, if not consistent recordings.
For example, the second track on the album, "Another Suggestion", is the group's fantastic attempt to interbreed a wildly pumping bass-line with flailing rock guitar riffs and Nintendo inspired keyboards. In this case, the result is a surprisingly smooth concoction.
The highlight of the album is the short lived track "Style Over Substance Abuse" which is chock full of shimmering surf guitar sounds and a delightfully bombastic Fred Schneider style back-up vocal. Brief, clever and energetic, the song is a sweet and satisfying reminder of 80's excess.
"Terrorvision", placed near the end of the album, sounds like what the band Grandaddy would sound like if they went totally evil. The tone is spaced-out like some lost Modesto band, but it is full of angular and dangerous sounding minor, descending spirals . This song also features some of the only decipherable lyrics on the album. Dez shouts the word terrorvision during the beginning of the song and then starts talking about democracy later on. The rest of the lyrics were too buried in the mix to accurately make out. No lyrics sheet was included with the album.
While there are obvious flaws in their effort, like the poorly mixed vocals and some decidedly low-res album art, the group displays a flair for composition and a high level of musicianship if not studiomanship. Their sound, which is raw and unpolished, could use some honing, but the initial result is extremely listen-worthy. And if you sit back and try to guess what this group will sound like in the future - well, that's real fun.
Information about purchasing the album, as well as MP3s are available on the group's website, www.theinstantcamera.com.