Anyway, I've Been There

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Camber's sophomore release on Deep Elm, Anyway, I've Been There, is a wonderful mix of emotional lyrics, creative songwriting, and Barry Lott's sharp, unique vocals. With ten miraculously sculpted tunes (none seem to tread on the heels of any of the others and yet the cohesiveness is remarkable), the band produces what some might hear as a soundtrack to life in New York City, the band's home base. The music is somewhat calm but can easily become classy, as with the trumpet on "Wait," yet on the next tune, "38th & 8th," Camber showcases a raucous guitar solo at the end of the song. The entire album is wrapped up with the dreary "Home Movies" and its tale of life's memories as home movies in one's head and the "endless hell" that only extreme depression can produce. It ends the album on a truly bleak note, and it's surely a darker side than anything else the band has revealed heretofore, yet it's not awkward. Sometimes the slow, depressing song is put last for a reason, to emphasize a point, and no doubt Camber has placed it as the closer as if to say, "If nothing else, listen to this part of our artistic expression." While not something most bands would heartily embrace, it's nevertheless a song that Camber pulls off with a passion and the bleak tone fits the band well, although surely the more upbeat tunes are less abrasive on the heart and soul. The crisp production was done by the legendary John Agnello; thus, nothing is lacking in that area. A truly solid, dynamic effort, Anyway, I've Been There is an album full of smart pop roots and somber undertones filled with intelligent songwriting from start to finish. A worthy follow-up to a strong debut.

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