Bearing witness to the baroque clusterfuckery of the world is no longer voluntary. We are all forced to watch. Every possible catastrophe vibrates in our pockets, demanding to be witnessed. In his second album, Forced Witness, out September 8th on Secretly Canadian, Alex Cameron’s solution to the difficulties we face is a danceable and dangerous earnestness, a sense of honesty that heals and relieves even as it cleaves us or makes us laugh in self-defense. He’s offering us vivid portraits of misfits who look at the world without illusion.
Recorded in Berlin, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas and produced by Cameron along withFoxygen’s Jonathan Rado, these tracks at first seem shamelessly entertaining, the driving rhythms and rousing melodies embellished at every turn by Roy Molloy’s warm hornwork. But the love songs and anthems of personal resilience contain as much raw humanity as they do a savvy grasp of the impossible loneliness of the times, especially apparent in the song, “Stranger’s Kiss” — Cameron’s affecting duet with Angel Olsen (who also sings backup on lead single, “Candy May”).
Alex Cameron will be bringing his unique brand of singer-songwriter music to The Crocodile on Wednesday, February 28th. Tickets and more information about the event can be found here.