Gone are the days where Alex Cameron portrays the seedy guy at the bar who you try your best to avoid. On Miami Memory, Alex Cameron plays, well, himself: a mature forthright Australian musician in his late-20’s who is, above all things, in love. This record, his third studio album, is a sincere ode to actress Jemima Kirke, Cameron’s partner of the last three years. (Yes, that Jemima Kirke: “Jessa” from HBO’s Girls). Miami Memory is blunt, sometimes explicit and in classic Cameron fashion, incredibly theatrical. Alex Cameron gives us a peek into his world, a neon, kitschy dreamland where no one matters more than Jemima Kirke.
In the most literal sense, this album is a love letter. Like how Andy Warhol had Edie and F. Scott Fitzgerald had Zelda, Alex Cameron has Jemima. “I came to a point in my life where I realized I’d found, for me, the ideal muse,” he told GQ earlier this month. Honestly, it’s a bit shocking to hear Cameron sing earnestly after years of his carefully executed masquerade, but on Miami Memory, the move to self-narrative works in his favor.
There’s nothing to hide here in regards to Cameron and Kirke’s relationship—Cameron doesn’t shy away from even the most intimate details, both emotional and physical. He pairs the most explicit experiences with the most pure, strengthening both sentiments in his lyrical wake. On the title track, for instance, Cameron sings, “Holding your hand just to make sure / You’re never too far out of reach,” while not long after giving us a passionate, albeit major T.M.I. description of sexual pleasure. With Miami Memory, Cameron and Kirke are #relationshipgoals and Cameron wants everyone to know it.
Sonically, Miami Memory is as lush and gaudy as the city of Miami. Opening track “Stepdad” crashes in, synths ablaze with Cameron crooning with dramatic flair. “Miami Memory” is a beat-focused song embellished with Cameron’s close friend Roy Malloy on the saxophone. On “End is Nigh”, the instrumentals are softened, highlighting harmonized background vocals. “PC With Me” has some southern rock ‘n’ roll behind it, many thanks to the organ. No two songs are alike, and with each listen new layers are unlocked.
Though it’s his third album, Miami Memory feels like we’re meeting Alex Cameron for the first time. This is the real him, not a perpetuated version masked by character. While unexpected, it’s not jarring in the least bit. It’s a warm introduction, one filled with familiarity with help from Cameron-world mainstays Roy Malloy, Kirin J. Callinan, Holiday Sidewinder and more.
As himself, Cameron pushes boundaries, but never loses control. He ends the record with spoken word directly aimed towards Kirke, the most honest we’ve ever seen him: “The truth that you’re a good mother, the truth that your children love and admire you and that they have nothing to be afraid of when they’re in your presence, The truth that you’re an artist, you’re an actor and a real motherfucking powerhouse.” Love suits Alex Cameron well.