Instant Camera – Alive On Departure (CD)

Instant Camera – Alive On Departure / 2005 Wall To Wall / 10 Tracks / / / Reviewed 14 July 2005

The opening track “Beyond Infinity” starts off with a mixture of different style, taking equal parts from Radiohead and Coldplay just as from the dream-pop movement from the mid-nineties. The rockabilly approach to “Dr. Glass” mixes with Modern English to have Instant Camera attack with a new romantic-like sound early on the disc. “Shadowman” is the band’s first noticeably weak spot on “Alive on Departure”; the droning guitars seem to repeat themselves too much, even neutralizing the piano splashes on the track. The weakness present on “Shadowman” is eliminated for the follow-up track “Social Anxiety”.

In this track, the continual electronic edge to the band’s output meshes well with the bass lines scattered throughout the track. Finding the same sort of drone that was such a problem on “Shadowman” during “Working Class Zero”, Instant Camera tries valiantly to incorporate a rapidly-increasing tempo to the track. This gambit may make the track more palatable, but does not compare to the full-out stops made by the band during tracks like “Existing To Cease”. The disc may only be thirty minutes long, but the repetition found between tracks on “Alive On Departure” is such that “Terrorvision” has the same echoing, retro-eighties sound as a number of other tracks on the disc. Trying to recall The Beatles during “Hearing Is Disbelieving”, Instant Camera biffs up what would be a fairly easy task by incorporating much too much in the way of extra material on the disc. Couple that with a lounge-singer approach to the vocals, and what originally was a solid track musically (taking on Elvis Costello’s seventies sound) is turned into a shambling mess. The disc is full of its ups and down, and really lacks a track that just screams radio-worthy.

There is no denying that the members of Instant Camera are talented and innmoovative enough to come up with a solid blueprint for their style of music, but their foresight does not extend far enough in the future to maintain this “new” sound. Perhaps an expansion in Instant Camera’s general sound and a move away from clichéd guitar lines (as is present during “Style Over Substance Abuse ”) would be the panacea for the majority of “Alive On Departure’s” ills. As it is, this album has a number of solid tracks, but their impact is lessened with the close scatter stylistically of the music. Give the band another chance; see them live if you have to.

Top Tracks: Social Anxiety, Style Over Substance Abuse

Rating: 4.0/10

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