Hidden Cameras : Mississauga, Goddam

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During early adolescence – when we were too naïve to care, when we were unaware of taboos or mores, and before our soft focus illusions were crushed by out of focus slides in human growth and development classes – there was nothing better than good old fashioned nudge nudge, wink wink innuendo. You know: It was the kind when anything that sounded even remotely sexual went through some dirty transubstantiation; when the knick-knack patty-whack of “This Old Man” no longer consisted of playful knick-knacking and patty-whacking; when the names of every world leader and celebrity were easily turned into sexual euphemisms simply by transposing first name and surname (i.e. “I’d Zuniga her Daphne”). Admittedly, this is still pretty funny at age twenty-four.

Joel Gibb, the dirty-mind behind The Hidden Cameras, glibly channels this adolescent mischievousness on Mississauga Goddam just as he did on the band’s previous album, The Smell of Our Own. Mississauga Goddam, with its deceptively pleasant Belle & Sebastian and Polyphonic Spree pop stylings, is one of those records that takes the unsuspecting by surprise, treating them like the prude dupe of a crass prank show. Gibb’s perverse song lyrics mention everything from golden showers to a lot of, *ahem*, “meat.” One song is even titled “I Want Another Enema.” Yes, the fundamentals of adolescent schoolboy gaiety are here: A wink wink, nudge nudge delivery for every entendre, lots of deviant sex, and even a play on an infamous world leader’s name (“You’ve been pulling your Pol Pot for far too long“).

While this may all sound infantile, Mississauga Goddam is actually an entertaining and bizarrely enjoyable listen, one that elicits as many smiles as it does gasps at illicit behavior. The same can probably be probably said of a Hidden Cameras show, which apparently involves a number of go-go dancers, audience participation, and the type of elaborate wackiness one could expect from The Flaming Lips or Gwar. Mississauga Goddam wins you over with equal parts symphonic pop, rakish playfulness, and lyrics that caper and jig in the gutter without remorse. From the rumbling, big sound “Fear is On” to the nasally, vibrato vocals in the bounding chorus of “Bboy,” the album can be characterized as something a gay, sexually liberated Glasgow-by-way-of-Canada pop outfit would record if fronted by a kinky Mike Mills.

Glistening “doot doots,” chimes and resoundingly whimsical instrumentation on “Doot Doot Plot” open the album, giving way to the not particularly veiled sexual word play of “Builds the Bone.” The album’s blush-inducing proclivities are at their uncomfortably fun best when golden showers make an entrance. “That’s When the Ceremony Starts” plays like a quaint, pastoral romp that reverentially meditates on drinking sweet splurging “wine that came from inside.” The dirty Dionysian allusion to water sports is matched only by an overt line in “Music is My Boyfriend.” After anthropomorphizing music and describing their relationship together, Gibb rejoices, “I kissed his ugly gangly greens, he swallowed my pee.”

“Mississauga Goddam,” the title song and album closer, feels a little removed from what precedes it. Gibb’s meditation on his Canadian home city is free from the kinks and quirks of the other songs on the album. Instead Gibb delivers a nostalgic, misanthropic, staid and melodic pop song.

For an album so blunt with its kinky inclinations, Mississauga Goddam is quite pleasant. Its poppy offerings shimmer like a tinkling shower (nudge nudge, wink wink). It’s a strangely charming album, a bleating soundtrack for randy Pan the goat boy’s come-hither frolics through a summertime glade.

Similar albums:
Polyphonic Spree – Beginning Stages of…
Belle & Sebastian – Dear Catastrophe Waitress
Magnetic Fields – 69 Love Songs

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