Camera Rivoli, Toronto ON, June 12

Camera Rivoli, Toronto ON, June 12
Photo: Tiana Feng
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Camera, a dapper Welsh five-piece of all shapes and sizes, allured the Rivoli's impressive attendance with dark, punchy folk-infused rock. They deal in a weary sort of self-pity that's redeemed by bucolic, open-chord thrums and pretty flourishes on the periphery; singer Matt Nichols wails like an unpunctual romantic watching an important train leave the platform. Camera fall into a lineage of brooding alt-folkies whose catharsis aims to uplift the listener, rather than chasing her sympathy. It's a tough style to engineer — positivity vs. pomp, self-awareness vs. self-obsession — but they managed capably, terse piano lending a sense of melodrama that added depth without taking itself too seriously.

It's fair to say the mood lagged as verses bled repeatedly into climaxes, however, and despite best efforts to shake things up with odd bursts of noise and frenzied soloing, the band were memorable mostly for their amusingly vocal fans, presumably flown over from Wales. "Happiness is coming," sang Nicholas in one poignant moment, as if half-believing the statement. Like many a perennially downtrodden songwriter, you sense that, should true happiness arrive, he wouldn't know the first thing to do with it.