CD REVIEW: Kamera - Resurrection
By J.D. Stefan
Resurrection is the second release from the Stockholm, Sweden-based pop band Kamera. The title of the disc is appropriate given that the band went through their share of trials after releasing their debut album. Originally signed with Sony, the band fell victim to major label mergers and shakeups and went through a lineup change before returning with Resurrection. Kamera was formed by drummer Carl DeLorean, vocalist Joakim Hjelm and bassist Kit Balance. These three original members brought in keyboardist Nico and guitarist Lotus to complete the new lineup. Resurrection was released in early 2008. Unfortunately, a check on Nettwerk Records website doesn’t list Kamera as a current artist. Recording specifics on the CD itself are scarce as are performance details but a check of the bands’ MySpace page www.myspace.com/kamerastyle seems to indicate that they’re still alive and kicking with a new release “Blank Expressions” forthcoming.
Resurrection opens up with “Lies” and it immediately sets the stage for a band clearly influenced by some great synth-pop including The Cure, Duran Duran and New Order just to begin with. “Lies” is an infectious pop song and it’s immediately clear that Kamera know precisely what they’re doing and they do it well. In fact, they do it all just as well as their influences. The groove continues on “Borderline” and “Like a Drug”. This is a well-produced, beautifully executed modern pop album. Hjelms voice is reminiscent of Simon LeBon and it’s perfect for this style and genre. Identifiable in some ways immediately but still unique enough on its own. Of course, sound is one thing but to really make it work, the songs need to be great. And they are! Kamera delivers on all fronts, the songs are catchy and memorable but not to the point of becoming annoying (which admittedly is what happens with many pop songs). As the album progresses, there’s enough diversity within the band’s style to remain intriguing. Other influences begin to emerge as well. “I Was Made For U” has clear overtones of Depeche Mode for example. Resurrection is perfectly radio-ready and pop-radio friendly. The album has been recorded extremely well and it’s clear that a lot of time was spent on the making of it. The payoff is huge as this CD can stand up against any commercial release in the genre.
This is an album that, for fans of the genre and bands mentioned as influences, will be difficult to find any fault with. The songs are great, the production and execution is stellar, and it’s all there. The only packaging I’ve seen for this release is the simple cardboard sleeve that was most likely used just for sending to press and media. The band’s website lacks information other than the history and formation and it sure looks like they may be on their own again since Nettwerk doesn’t have info on the band either. This is a shame because Kamera is a great band with a great pop sound and perhaps it’s just a matter of timing – getting this form of pop in front of the fans. If the band can endure, I’d be surprised if they couldn’t find a successful niche for themselves.
There’s something about Swedish pop. It’s typically very catchy and tends to do well in the U.S. when executed like Kamera have done. Kamera has a modern take on 80s synth pop and it’s refreshing to hear it as well done as on Resurrection. Hopefully they can endure and find some optimal outlets for their next release. Very well done.
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