Home Read Classic Album Review: The Hidden Cameras | The Smell of Our Own

Classic Album Review: The Hidden Cameras | The Smell of Our Own

Toronto's 'gay folk church music' ensemble are ready for their close-up.

This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


They may be relatively unknown beyond the 401, but The Hidden Cameras already seem to be the biggest band in Toronto — in more ways than one.

Led by singer-songwriter-strummer Joel Gibb, this self-described “gay folk church music” ensemble boastz 14 members. Not surprisingly, the sound of their second album The Smell of Our Own is also pretty huge — somewhere between the earnest twee-pop of Belle and Sebastian and the arch orch-pop of Elephant 6, but piled high with lush, pillowy string lines, timpani and the occasional pipe organ. Speaking of organs, that brings us to Gibb’s gorgeously profane lyrics. Thanks to his earnest, poppy delivery, they swoop below the radar until you pay attention and realize that sunshine-filled, melodically rich pop gems like Golden Streams, Shame and The Man That I Am With My Man are about … well, I’ll let you work that out for yourselves. While you do, however, know this: Gibb and The Hidden Cameras are ready for their closeup.