Alex Cameron | Feature Artist
Alex Cameron is ushering in a wave of new Americana songwriting. He channels Springsteen as many before him have, but turns it to the dirt through the persona of a failed salesman and talent scout. From this angle, he engages in a divine comedy of the criminal underworld through tales of failed romance, internet dating, bar fights and politics. His character is as seedy as it is likeable - a happy go lucky, hopeless romantic who is willing to risk it all on his latest crush.
He started as the head of the Future Classic signed electronic act, ‘Seekae’, which after disbanding in 2015, saw Alex turn his attention full time to his solo project. His bedroom recorded, lo-fi debut Jumping the Shark, shows a clear knack for writing ballads alongside an ambition to create a lane for himself in the wave of great modern songwriters. It’s dated aesthetics prove best in cuts such as ‘The Comeback’ or opener ‘Happy Ending’. The project saw little initial success. However, we see the turning point come for Cameron when the album caught the attention of The Killers frontman, Brandon Flowers.
Flowers took Cameron under his wing and mentored him towards assembling his touring band, including the infamously sexy Roy Molly on Saxophone, and recording his 2017 critical breakthrough, Forced Witness. Flowers has a clear hand in the mix with writing credits and backing vocals on gems ‘Running Outta Luck’ and ‘Politics of Love’. Cameron’s songwriting and production shine through a full band and recording environment, to create one of the most instantly enjoyable and catchy pop-rock records of last decade. The humour alongside the balladry age and develop like fine wine, the songs are perfectly crafted and show a talent rarely seen in artists developing a tired genre in new ways (interview here).
It’s also worth noting that the Killers subsequently took Alex, Roy and the whole band as the primary support act for the entirety of their 2017–2018 tour. The dedication of Brandon in developing Alex as both a performer and artist is extremely admirable, and it truly does show in both the arena-ready live performances, and his 2019 followup, Miami Memory. The album subverts the business in favour of newfound family values. A left turn I doubt anyone saw coming. Finding himself in marriage and family, Alex takes on a more personal approach to songs but remains hilarious, smart and catchy as hell. Between the tracks of him wrestling with his newfound patriarchal status (see ‘Stepdad’, ‘Divorce’ and ‘Other Ladies’), Cameron opts for an approach to social politics that remains wholly authentic and unique. Tracks such as ‘PC with Me’ and the standout ‘Far From Born Again’, Cameron chooses to tackle social issues with a headstrong and mature attitude that remains likeable yet challenging.
Cameron’s evolution from album to album show him as a force to be reckoned with, he is a part of a new wave of Australian Artists hellbent on being unique whilst developing old genre tropes and ideas. I’ll be writing about these others soon enough (Kirin J Callinan article coming soon), but until then, I implore you to listen to Forced Witness and Miami Memory. They are near flawless in their approaches to songwriting and radio rock and make for some of the best reliable listenings I’ve had in the last few years.
Featured Albums: Alex Cameron
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