The Awful Truth
Well, she’s about half right, I’d say.
Truthfully, the music isn’t really that awful, it’s just that it’s not enormously good. Andi Camp is trying to make piano-pop along the lines of Joe Jackson–“Car Doors” is practically a rewrite–but she lacks his gift for melody or arrangement.
With a set-up as basic as Camp’s, your material had better carry the day, and hers just isn’t up to the task. Its inadequacies are best illustrated by “Candy,” which starts with a perfectly pleasant little piano figure (as do most of the songs here) and then never does anything with it.
Still, Camp’s piano is more notable than her vocals, all of which have a hushed, reverent quality that make me think she thinks her songs are Neil Finn’s or something. And no, not so much. “Pocketbook” would benefit the most from a slightly jazzier inflection (at least) in the vocals.
The songs are largely indistinguishable from one another, with only “Hey Sugar” coming close to a melodic hook. A trio of songs near the end of the record are especially guilty of this, “Doormat,” “The Miss” and “Tall Drink Of Water” all have noticeably similar intros.
Is there potential here? Yeah, I suppose so, but it may be more for Camp as a piano player than as a vocalist or songwriter. At present her work is too easy to disregard. I’m on my third time through listening to The Awful Truth as I write this, and I’m sorry, I haven’t a clue as to what her point of view is. Though I can say it’s sadly lacking in wit and seems to take itself waaaay too seriously.
A quick swing ’round the internet reminds me that Camp does have her devoted followers among my critical brethren. But the fact that almost all of them felt the need to devote large parts of their reviews to the individually designed and hand-numbered packaging — which granted, is quite nice — as opposed to the music, speaks volumes.