Jumping the Shark
by David Chiu
To the outsider, show business may seem all glamorous and fun, full of beautiful people that we kind of live vicariously through and wish we could be them. With that in mind, the appropriately-titled Jumping the Shark, the debut album of Australian singer Alex Cameron (along with co-hort Roy Molloy), will probably burst that bubble. This hypnotic, minimalist-sounding electronic pop record is a document of Cameron’s experiences in show business, and it doesn’t paint a rosy picture of that or society in general. Perhaps the track that best sums that theme is the rather poppy “The Comeback,” about a fading but determined entertainer who appears washed up and not in sync with today’s times; the slow and haunting “Internet,” which has a majestic if sad aura about something that has become an important part of our lives for better our worse; and the penetrating character study “Real Bad Lookin,’” with some piercing guitar, that examines the depressing lives of a man and a woman who could either be at a bar or casino. With its reliance on an old-fashioned ’80s crackling synth sounds, the electronic music on Jumping the Shark is reminiscent of Suicide Gary Numan and the Cars—with Cameron’s almost deep talk-singing echoing the late Alan Vega, Ric Ocasek, and Nick Cave. Musically Jumping the Shark is quite catchy and melodic (i.e. “She’s Mine” and “Mongrel” are uptempo and danceable) but lyrically provides a lot of food for thought.