Kamera: Resurrection

Kamera is as pure a retro throwback as you may ever find.



Label: Nettwerk
US Release Date: 2008-02-05
UK Release Date: 2007-03-05

How do you praise something that is as patently derivative as Kamera's Resurrection? Pop Resurrection into your CD player and you'll hear shades of New Order, Information Society, the Cure, Dead or Alive, Depeche Mode, and just about every other band that had a keyboard and an excess of black eyeliner in the '80s. While it's true that you don't necessarily need innovation in order to create great music, can it possibly help matters if the creation process adheres strictly to some template of what serious '80s synth-pop once was?

Sure, bands like the Killers and Franz Ferdinand have opened up the floodgates for this sort of thing, with their backward looking synth work, dance beats, and frontmen putting on their best big important voices, but choices in production, instrumentation, and lyricism identify the modern retro as distinctly a product of the 2000s. Kamera, on the other hand, wield no such indicators; it is truly retro, in that it legitimately sounds as though it could have come from the era that it is emulating. That by itself is an achievement of sorts, and will test the level of '80s devotion that those lovers of modern retro-chic are willing to embrace.

Example: "TV Lights" is a highly danceable bit of dark pop music with lots of bell and string synths, a prominent slap bassline, and Joakim Hjelm's distinctive (as in, he sounds like he might actually be holding his nose the whole time he sings) vocals. This is all well and good, since words like "Shine on / We knock the radio out / Shine on / Know what we're talking about / Shine on / Make sure the truth won't come out" are generic enough to not distract from the overall picture, and it gets a decent little groove going over the course of its four-and-a-half minutes.

And then, you realize that it sounds almost as much like Hall & Oates as it does Love & Rockets, and your will is tested.

This isn't to say that there's anything wrong with Hall & Oates, necessarily. It's more a matter of the fact that the image Kamera is portraying via the use of high-contrast black and white with bright green accents in its album art, on its website, and on its MySpace, is one of the artsy, tortured brand of synthpopper band. While the music does occasionally live up to the standard set by such an image, it's usually too far on the "pop" side of synthpop to truly satisfy someone looking for the depth and the style of the most lasting products of the '80s synth explosion.

All of that said, a few of these songs really could have been huge hits, in that they have a knack for earworming their way through your skull and lodging themselves in your brain until you've sung them to yourself enough times to be declared legally insane. The devious little back-to-back duo of "Borderline" (not a cover of the Madonna song, sadly) and "Like a Drug" is tuneful, danceable, and repetitive in all the right ways. If you're not singing "I wanna run down the borderline...with YOUUUUU / Oowooo ooo oooowooo oo oooo" after you've heard "Borderline" twice, you may never, ever have a song stuck in your head. Congratulations. "Fragile" is the best club track on the album, practically crying out for glowsticks and big hair, and "I'm Gonna Be Your Lover" is a fantastic little example of treading the obsession/devotion line in art-pop-ballad form.

Songs like those mentioned prove that Kamera has the chops to be a fantastic '80s throwback band, but most of the rest of Resurrection just isn't catchy, or danceable, or memorable enough to make an impact. If you really, really miss the '80s, maybe Kamera is your bag; buy the album, however, and you may just realize you don't miss the decade quite as much as you thought.






A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.


Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.


PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.


'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.


Bright Eyes' 'Down in the Weeds' Is a Return to Form and a Statement of Hope

Bright Eyes may not technically be emo, but they are transcendently expressive, beatifically melancholic. Down in the Weeds is just the statement of grounding that we need as a respite from the churning chaos around us.


Audrey Hepburn + Rome = Grace, Class, and Beauty

William Wyler's Roman Holiday crosses the postcard genre with a hardy trope: Old World royalty seeks escape from stuffy, ritual-bound, lives for a fling with the modern world, especially with Americans.


Colombia's Simón Mejía Plugs Into the Natural World on 'Mirla'

Bomba Estéreo founder Simón Mejía electrifies nature for a different kind of jungle music on his debut solo album, Mirla.


The Flaming Lips Reimagine Tom Petty's Life in Oklahoma on 'American Head'

The Flaming Lips' American Head is a trip, a journey to the past that one doesn't want to return to but never wants to forget.


Tim Bowness of No-Man Discusses Thematic Ambition Amongst Social Division

With the release of his seventh solo album, Late Night Laments, Tim Bowness explores global tensions and considers how musicians can best foster mutual understanding in times of social unrest.


Angel Olsen Creates a 'Whole New Mess'

No one would call Angel Olsen's Whole New Mess a pretty album. It's much too stark. But there's something riveting about the way Olsen coos to herself that's soft and comforting.


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Masma Dream World Go Global and Trippy on "Sundown Forest" (premiere)

Dancer, healer, musician Devi Mambouka shares the trippy "Sundown Forest", which takes listeners deep into the subconscious and onto a healing path.


Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" Is an Ode for Unity in Troubling Times (premiere)

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" is a gentle, prayerful tune that depicts the heart of their upcoming album, Crucible.


'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.


Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.


Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.


Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.


The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.