Man, do you need a lyric sheet to listen to this album.

As the Advocate and Pitchfork have already helpfully stated, the Hidden Cameras do a rather compelling job of linking spirituality with gay politics.

And jumping on the band’s website to read some of its lyrics, those analyses bear themselves out.

I’ll defer to these opinions. Why duplicate someone else’s analysis?

But Advocate writer Rob Chin is spot on about singer Joel Gibb’s enunciation on the Cameras’ studio debut, The Smell of Our Own. “One wishes he were miked more clearly”, Chin writes.

Uh, yeah.

Despite Gibb’s lyrical content and the Hidden Cameras’ pleasantly bizzare music, The Smell of Our Own gets predictable after a while.

The Polyphonic Spree, the Magnetic Fields and Belle and Sebastian have all been name checked when comparing the Hidden Cameras’ lush, orchestral sound to other groups.

And The Smell of Our Own delivers, indulging in strings and glockenspiels and harps and all manner of heavenly instruments.

But all the songs start off the same way — with a pulse. A chugging, eighth note pulse. Hello, Phillip Glass. Hello, Steve Reich. Even with all the orchestral flourishes, the song seem to follow the same template.

Gibb possesses a strong, clear voice, but the words — and they’re damn fine words — often get lost. When all you’re left with is the music, The Smell of Our Own is pretty repetitive.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to the album. “The Man That I Am” paints some really vivid images of alternative bedroom techniques.

But prepare to work a bit harder to cut through the unintended obfuscation on the album. It pays off.