The Hidden Cameras Ecce Homo

The Hidden Cameras prefer to be labelled "gay folk church music." Hailing from Toronto, this octet emphasises art, free expression, love and religion in their music. Their live shows consist of obscure art films, an overhead projection of the lyrics (like in Sunday school), a wide range of instruments and two dancing gimps (well, boys dancing in their underwear with jockstraps on their heads). Needless to say, you won't be seeing them play in your parents' church service anytime soon. Ecce Homo is their first record, a lo-fi affair that was written and performed on a four-track by singer/ songwriter/ guitarist Joel Gibb. Though this recording is from the early stages of the Hidden Cameras, it is a strong representation of the material played at the shows (with fewer instruments). Gibb's natural ability to create sweet harmonies is truly impressive, as each song on the record is as hummable as the next. Instant comparisons are the folkier, wittier Belle & Sebastian compositions, the fanaticism of Hefner's earlier material and the lulled vocals of John Denver. Besides the wonderful melodies and lingering vocals, Gibb also shines in his lyrical content and subject matter. Lyrically, songs like "Ode to Self-Publishing, Fear of 'Zine Failure," "The International Mild Mannered Army" and "High Upon the Church Grounds" are as interesting and entertaining as the titles sound. Currently working on a new album with the whole band intact, the Hidden Cameras are sure to make a name for themselves. Suffice it to say, "gay folk church music" is going to be the next big craze. (Independent)