Cameron Avery is perhaps best known for being Tame Impala’s touring bassist. Bearing that in mind, what would you expect from his debut solo album? Perhaps a bit of pop-tinged psychedelic rock? Think again. The singer and multi-instrumentalist is taking us to the world of dark nights, smoke-filled streets and neon-lit alleyways on ‘Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams’, channelling the spirits of great crooners like Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra along the way.
Having said that, it isn’t an album filled with glitz and glamour. Cameron may drench his songs in luscious, sweeping strings, but this is more akin to a gritty neo-noir thriller with numerous femme fatales haunting him at every turn. He sings from behind a haze of debauchery about lost love in all its forms in sometimes painfully earnest ways. ‘Do You Know Me By Heart?’ and ‘Wasted On Fidelity’ are particularly touching odes to short-lived and dying relationships.
It’s not all romanticised, though. On ‘Watch Me Take It Away’ he wrests back control in a frenzy of guitars and swaggering percussion. He even adds a dose of self-deprecating humour to the Americana-tinged ‘Disposable’. Giving himself the functional qualities of toothpaste or duct tape, he jovially claims that “you can get me in a pack of two”. It might not be bitingly caustic, but it certainly takes the edge off the fact there’s nothing lasting or meaningful to his various flings. For Cameron Avery, the idea of real love may be but a pipe dream, but it’s very hard not to fall head over heels for his honest charms.