When a band writes me that, "We believe you might be interested in our music because we have been told that we sometimes sound like a cross between the Feelies and Pere Ubu," you might think I'd be like Rene Zellweger in "Jerry Maguire"--"You had me at hello." But that isn't entirely true: It definitely gets my attention, but after that, I'm sure to be even more skeptical than usual when judging whether or not the boast is warranted.
Well, the local trio Camera--guitarist-vocalist David Syvilian, bassist-synthesist Ryan Aylward and drummer-pianist Joseph Scro--pretty much deliver the post-punk art-rock goods: Not only is the trio's version of the Feelies' "Moscow Nights" one of the most impressive I've heard (nobody covers the Feelies because the Feelies are just too hard to cover), originals such as "Wicked Wicked Games" and "One Neo Eon" are nearly as strong, doing proud the traditions of an era where it didn't seem unreasonable to pair ultra-danceable grooves with challenging musical ideas and often delightfully menacing sonic ambience.
Hear for yourself at www.myspace.com/CameraChicago; search out the band's self-titled 2005 EP or 2008 album "Fire & Science" or catch Camera live as part of I Am Fest at the Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee, at 3 p.m. on June 13. (Presented by the musicians' collective Chicago Noise Machine, the fest features 25 bands on two stages throughout the day; visit www.myspace.com/chicagonoisemachine for more info.)