Cam Fraser has an education spanning from English Literature, New York theatre training, graduate work in graphic design and music at the renowned Berklee College of Music. Among others, Cam has played in popular Toronto bands including The Four Kelly’s, Crispin’s Glove and The And Then’s. His individualistic flare and outlandish live antics garnered Cameron the stage name “Fun Cam”.
Fun Cam (Cam Fraser) and crew, worked on and off on the “Basement Rock” album for about a year, recording all the tracks live, off the floor, and in the same room. They kept the overdubbing at an absolute minimum. All the guitars went in dry using no pedal effects or software enhancements. So, in today’s swashbuckling, glossy and Melodyned music world, how does Fun Cam and “Basement Rock” measure up?
For starters, Fun Cam has a sound that is completely his own. It’s crunchy, fuzzy, aggressive, spacey, acidy and sometimes brooding alt-folksy with a touch of 60’s psychedelia and punk mixed in. And I’m not sure I even got enough descriptions in there! It’s a sound that Fun Cam maintains perfectly, in varying does, throughout the whole album.
Fun Cam (Cam Fraser) and Johann Burkhardt complement each other very well, and together, they manufacture some absolutely hair-raising sounds throughout this recording. This album is vintage in feel, yet modern and innovative and the same time. I will enjoy it for years to come, just as I do my old Bowie, Zeppelin and Crosby, Stills Nash & Young records; simply because “Basement Rock” relies on substance, rather than on pretense.
This much is clear the minute “Baby Tonight” comes flying in on a high note. The song is full of referential influences and the sound echoes of the past amalgamating into a blend of psychedelia and rock and roll, with a few shards of melodic folk-rock shining through. “Colder in L.A” is faster and louder with Fun Cam’s punk influences taking a front seat. The supporting vocals come in nicely, just lending a hand to catch some fire, while Fun Cam and the band jams out right.
There is a really good infectious beat going on in all the songs. And “Vegan Girlfriend” is no exception. Fun Cam’s vocals are incredible, the guitars wonderfully crunchy, the bass and drums tight. If you like the retro rock sound, you won’t go wrong with this. Listen to “Bandana Jeans Girl” loud a few times and you’ll like it more and more each time. Put it away and listen to it a few days later. And the melody and harmonies sound even better. You’d need to put Jackson Browne into the Beach Boys to get anywhere close to this authentic feel-good sound.
Passionate, intense and hard-hitting, “Small Town Swing Bridge” forges all of Fun Cam’s influences possibly absorbed from Neil Young. It really is one of the highlights of this album’s sonic texture for sure. “Last Show” and “Not Today”, are chalked full, good rocking jams. The attitude and style in which they are delivered demands your full attention and greatly adds to the overall vibe of this album.
“Hit me baby” is none other than a superb reworked, acoustic version, of “Baby One More Time”, the Britney Spears megahit song, written and produced by Max Martin and Rami in 1998.Fun Cam strips the song down, and then turns it upside down and inside out, in the best possible way. The result is a track so full of character that it stands out like no other bare-bones acoustic-rock song, I’ve heard in a long time.
Fun Cam (Cam Fraser) and crew have done an excellent job of pooling together all their talents into a cohesive and refreshing use of their instruments and voices. This album is always about the songs, and never about the musicians, and every part that is played creates a full-bodied jam of chunky riffs and analog lushness. The groove laid down on these tracks is undeniable and almost unheard of in the digital era. “Basement Rock” is a must have for anyone who remotely likes rock music. It embodies what has made…and still makes rock music so damn enjoyable!
The official record release date and show is set for Aug 27th – The Paddock Tavern – Toronto, Ontario. The single, “Baby Tonight” is currently in video production.
Vocals: Cam Fraser
Backing Vocals: Liv Jean Mott, Katie Moreley, Amanda Jean Mountford, Kim Baxter, Johann Burkhardt, Melodie Lemon, Cam Fraser
Drums: Tony Rabalao, Don Pham, Matt Morton Axe: Cam Fraser, Johann Burkhardt
Bass: Johann Burkhardt Keys: Johann Burkhardt
Additional percussion: Cam & Johann
Jk (John Kanakis) back up vox, bass, lead axe, baritone sax, mandolin, slide axe, organ, synths, percussion, and tambo
Written and arranged by Cam Fraser. Produced and engineered by Johann Burkhardt. Additional mixing and producing by JK (John Kanakis)