Alex Cameron - Jumping The Shark
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Basic rhythms, simple synth melodies and the occasional burst of fuzz guitar provide a primitive vehicle for Cameron’s idiosyncratic lyrics, where the record’s real pleasures reside. Based on “experiences and stories”, the vignettes on Jumping The Shark are delivered in a treacly croon, mine Cameron’s childhood and upbringing in the suburbs and rural areas of Australia. Their unifying theme is failure and dashed ambition. His characters – a rogue’s gallery of addicts, cheats and villains – share a nobility in their arc of sadness and self-destruction.
Consequently, ‘Happy Ending’ refers not to closure, not even ironically, but to the unadvertised extras available in a massage parlour (“Let’s go to Chinatown, That’s where we’ll find our happy ending”), while ‘Real Bad Lookin’ is an inebriated electro-waltz, sketching the fantasies of “the goddam drunkest ugliest girl / guy at the bar.” ‘The Comeback’ is the extended complaint of an embittered old showbiz trouper threatened by a new generation of entertainers, fantasising about getting his show back by any means necessary. There’s more of his trademark deadpan humour in ‘Internet’, with its Numanish two-note melody and affectionate tribute to the office technology of the late 1990s, with its promise of easily affordable hi-tech opportunity: “Got two modems, And a fax machine. I’ve got receptionists, They keep my office clean.”