Camden: Reel Time Canvas

Reel Time Canvas
Grand Theft Autumn

Have you ever been trapped in an elevator with some one you didn’t know? All that uncomfortable silence. All the wondering when the hell the doors my open. Thinking your breathe stinks and trying to remember if you put on deoderant. It can get kind of uncomfortable. So much so that conversations between you and your fellow prisoner may seem impossible.

Now imagine you are stuck in an elevator with Morrissey, Braid’s Robert Nanna and Shudder To Think’s Craig Wedren. Say they had all showered and used deodorant and Morrissey was being a sissy for once in his life. And let’s say, for the sake of argument they decided to record a record capturing this experience of uncomfortable solitude. The result I am sure would be similar to Camden’s Reel Time Canvas. This Midwest band borrows as much from the dramatic guitar’s of Bob Nanna as it does from Craig Wedren’s brilliant piecing of music and Morrissey’s unfortunate yet hauntingly depressed singing voice.

It’s not the kind of music you would expect from a guitar-based band as it is heavily influenced by the soundscapes of such moody music like Depeche Mode or late eighties Cure. However contemporary influence is not so far away either. Where a band like Cross My Heart fails to make something fresh, Camden succeeds. I don’t know if it the more “processed” or “computerized” sound that the band has added to the drums and guitars, but they birth a solid sound that is well thought out and well crafted. Upon first listen, it sounds like just another “emo” band minus the loud guitars. But where many modern bands fail to expand upon the arpeggiation backed versus, and explosive choruses, Camden does.

Their first song “Mike, Who Is Diary,” is the best example. The song reminds me of a rainy day at the ocean. Tragic that so much water must fall into water. But the band puts hints of chorus on vocals, at just the right places, the end. It is as if the curious mind has drowned himself in his own anticipation for the answer to the question.

“How to Make America Proud” has the best written line that has come from modern rock music made by white people in the last ten years. Simply sung through out the series of parts, “Darling, you discussed” me is delivered with a delicate resentment and passionate triumph as if to say, “I told you so. You really were as horrible as I knew in my heart but never told you out of spite.” The song builds slowly, first with guitar and then a solid, simple drum beat. It’s most dramatic moment comes not from a horrible crashing of loud drums and guitar, but a simple drum fill that cues in the rising drama, bringing it to a beautiful plateau and then falling back into the valley of unending pride.

This is music that grows with each listen and is suitable for many moods, but not all moods at any time. It is will relax it’s listener after a hectic day, sooth them after an energetic one and lift them after a horrible one. Camden has set a great foundation with the some of the best, often underrated and greatly overlooked influences. The future looks promising if people are willing to take a chance on honest retrospection, modern sounds and the will to create beautiful music.