Emerging from the more interesting outer edges of Indie, where cross-overs and ‘influences’ are obligatory to prove that you’re not just making Indie (which no one ever gets enthusiastic about) comes Cameron Steele with an album which struggles to find the right balance throughout, although not always to bad effect.
There’re a fair few aspects at play across this release, with Trip Hop elements emerging on occasion from a landscape of Indie and Electro, with both foundations becoming slightly blurred by the addition. At times it works, with some interesting structures playing host to fitting, if not particularly exciting, vocals but there are also some slightly mismatched blocks here where things slip into something of an over-analysed rut, focusing on one pattern to the point of redundancy, which I blame on the Electro, experimental forces at work here. But for those little ruts though there are some worthwhile moments in Vintage, not ones which will immediately appeal perhaps but when Steele strikes the right balance between discordancy and consumable melody he doesn’t do a bad job of it. Perhaps, however, it would have been better to avoid some of the more abstracted attempts at creating ‘interesting’ melodies in favour of following a more palatable, if unadventurous, path. But then to have done that would have been to create a final, isolated product as opposed to opening up new avenues through experimentation; hard balance to strike either way and perhaps slightly missed on Vintage but not so much as to make the effort redundant.
Admittedly I’m displaying some genre biases in saying that the more Popish, shiny Electro aspects here are a little too clichéd to really hold massive interest. Both in free and commercial music the strand of quirky, over-polished vocalism and production which reflects the mainstreams current obsession has been over done and I’m not sure that Cameron does much of use in his approach to them. That said though he doesn’t fail in bringing those influences in; they fulfil the role set out for them in the general construct and for a lot of listeners that may well be all that’s needed.
Lyrically I’m hesitant to pass any judgement, there may or may not be something worth hearing here but for the most part the instrumental half of the music overwhelms the lyricism, crowding it out of any major presence in the album. It would have been nice to have seen a more definite character emerging here but I won’t hold up the lack of vocal force as an absolute failing given that the words do manage to fit in well enough with the tracks to form another instrumental layer at the cost of their own depth.
Overall, worth a download, if not a raving recommendation. There’s enough here to merit at least one listen and at times there are genuine traces of goodness, dragging you into the reality laid out on Vintage. Definitely worth keeping an eye on Cameron Steele though even if this isn’t an immediately classic effort the composite parts could well make their mark if focused in on and honed.