Camden Reel Time Canvas

In these post-emo days (which don't feel that much different, but that could just be me) bands don't have to try quite so hard to find into those narrow classifications. That leaves Milwaukee's Camden a fresh canvas upon which to create genre-free music, with the help of Death Cab For Cutie's Chris Walla. Reel Time Canvas is surprisingly addictive after a while, because it isn't the most immediate album by any means. And it does have a formulaic element to it, with the songs following a "loud/quiet/drum break/loud" structure more often than not, which is a little frustrating, although not particularly unusual these days. The operatic vocals have more than their fair share of Thom Yorke-isms, but despite so many derivative elements; Camden's music does come across with enough originality to make them worth at least investigating. Only on one track does the band add backing vocals and that demonstrates what could've been because it does help to flesh out the sound a little. The similarities to Radiohead are carried over in the lyrics too, which are similarly obscure and weird, except in Camden’s case they feel almost laboured and wilfully obscure for the sake of it. Maybe it is easier to do that rather than write coherent songs. Nevertheless, Reel Time Canvas has all the elements required to get people's attention - they just need to bring them together more convincingly before their next time in the studio. (Parasol)