I think it’s a myth that pop music is easy to make. I find it to be one of the most complex and multifaceted genres in music. The Adelaide, South Australia five-piece pop outfit The Cameramen seems to have done their homework on the pop genre and have taken many pains to get it right on their debut record Good Things Do Happen. Let’s start with the positivity of the record’s title. There is a subtle irony which unfolds from this title as we hear the lush and well-orchestrated pop in the vein of so many acts of the past five decades.
Good Things Do Happen opens with the simple and elegant serenade “Hello Friends.” There is a hinting at Nick Drake meets Jens Lekman styled acoustic pop music here. The dynamic shift, or what makes the song essentially so, is the haunting arrangements of piano and strings which hang in the background like a mist, coupled with singer Richard Sallis’s soft-spoken vocals which sound as though he’s reading a stack of notecards.
Next we get the more spectral piece of orchestrated pop “Drunken Serenade” which begins to show the far reaches of where The Cameramen is willing to explore, as they dole out Pink Floyd styled orchestration, which they continue to explore along with a bit of Pet Sounds influence on the slightly more playful and exhilarating roar of “Sea Creatures.”
The Cameramen is at their best when they concentrate on the orchestral swells combined with special oddities which again fall into the Pink Floyd vein later on the record as on the string driven “Dreams” which alone is worth the price of admission as is the soaring six- minute angelic “Onwards/Upwards” which unfolds brilliantly in a sort of time lapse of emotions and feelings that one just senses from the mesmerizing piano which leads into the eerie found sound recording that closes it out.
The Cameramen’s success I think can be linked to the orchestration of the songs on Good Things Do Happen, which boils down to five guys fine tuning their songs instead of just thinking ‘this is good enough,’ an attitude that unfortunately befalls many bands these days. Good Things Do Happen then is an album which deserves as much undivided attention as the listener has. The rewards will be worth it.
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