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Forced Witness
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Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Roy Molloy (saxophone).
  • Audio Mixers: Jacob Portrait; Marta Salogni; Richard Swift.
  • Recording information: Berlin; Downtown Los Angeles; Las Vegas; Topanga Canyon; Woodland Hills.
  • Photographer: Britt McCamey.
  • During the years between Jumping the Shark and Forced Witness, Alex Cameron honed his satirical meta-pop, ditching the persona of a washed-up show biz hack in favor of a slicker approach. Working with Foxygen's Jonathan Rado, Angel Olsen, and the Killers' Brandon Flowers, he delivers a second album full of big '80s, faux-celebratory pomp that suggests what Jumping the Shark must have sounded like in its character's delusional mind: "Politics of Love," one of the more straightforward tracks here, is soft rock begging to be played on the nearest yacht. But as Cameron's sounds get smoother, his lyrics get rougher, and his characters more dysfunctional and discomfiting. He builds on Jumping the Shark's most pointed songs, embodying outdated -- but unfortunately, not yet obsolete -- types of messed-up masculinity. Online porn and hookups are the downfall of more than a few of the album's characters ("Candy May," "The Chihuahua"); others succumb to trying to live up to the images of ultra-macho stars like Bruce Willis, David Beckham, and Marlon Brando. Cameron is still a master of irony and indelible images, and uses both memorably on "Country Figs," where he pairs perky, sax- and bongo-driven pop with pathetic lyrics ("the worst part of being homeless is waking up from a dirty wet dream with a lap full of cum and a head full of steam"). And if "Runnin' Outta Luck" sounds like an '80s movie summed up in a song, then the clever "Stranger's Kiss" could be that movie's love theme, with Olsen's harmonies bringing some seemingly real feeling to Forced Witness' world. ~ Heather Phares
Professional Reviews
Pitchfork (Website) - "The art-sleaze of Alex Cameron's second album transcends its surface-level smarm to become a biting piece of commentary. Thankfully, the songs are as effortlessly catchy as they are eminently creepy."
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