Will Hermes
May 09, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

A Smell of Our Own

Current Status
In Season
Rough Trade

We gave it an A-

It takes ambitious perversity to unleash a choir, a church organ, timpani, sleigh bells, and showering harp arpeggios in service of a paean to sexual water sports. But what elevates the album-opening ”Golden Streams” above pissant wit is how absolutely its pop sumptuousness transcends the formal joke. The Cameras were just Toronto’s Joel Gibb until stage fright drove him to build a small orchestra of friends; the result is a sophomore disc that sounds like a partnership ceremony between R.E.M. and the Magnetic Fields, with Phil Spector (unarmed) presiding. The lyrics, often coyly buried, blur love, spiritual epiphany, and deep horniness — not a new idea, but one that rarely generates this much tuneful joy. CHORAL FIXATION If the indie-rock trend toward choir harmony keeps up (see Polyphonic Spree, Bright Eyes, Rilo Kiley, etc.), high school glee clubs are gonna get a lot more fun.

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