With Icon Of An Orange Juice Container, an instrumental comedy album, Cameron MacLeod strives to be a jack-of-all-content. He is a writer, director, producer and performer at Pleasant Mountain Productions, a comedian, and the driving force behind The HERO SHOW (a monthly Vancouver sketch comedy show). MacLeod flexes comedy at every level and this album attempts to stretch it further.
Icon Of An Orange Juice Container’s title and track names were born as late-night epiphanies and the beats and voiceovers were developed later. Each track name is an introduction for a spoken bit laid over bouncy beats that range from the precise in “Suck Me Like a Dyson,” to the bubbly in “Chilly Toes & Bros.” Home produced, MacLeod made everything himself excluding the Point Break samples in “Chilly Toes & Bros,” an homage to MacLeod’s work in classic action film parody.
Comedy albums traditionally are recordings of stand up. Music comprises the bulk of the album. With three minute long songs like “Club Renovation” and its 20 seconds of voiceover, this album is more aptly classified as comedic instrumentals than instrumental comedy. Despite this musical emphasis, MacLeod draws heavily from his sketch comedy roots. Though the tracks merge music and narrative, the isolated voiceovers could be performed as stand alone sketches. An acoustic track, “I Can’t Do The Dew Like I Used To” has both strong comedic content, a Mountain Dew advocate lamenting his waning ability to “do” it, and striking instrumentation. The content anchors and supports the music, and the slow guitar reinforces the ambiance of the track, each justifying the other.
By starting the creative process with song names, however, the listener is left with mixed results. On one hand, this approach provides MacLeod with a lovely comedic springboard for each track. But, on the other hand, it limits the impact of the album as a whole. Each song being a separate burst of inspiration means that cohesion was forcefully imposed. The tracks’ disparate content leaves the music to connect everything. Instead, MacLeod emphasizes the music’s relationship to the bit, making the album feel like a collection of singles as opposed to an album unit.
Icon Of An Orange Juice Container is a beautiful idea whose main fault lie in MacLeod’s unfamiliarity with musical media. His palpable excitement suggests that this is a passion project meant to test himself and the boundaries of his comedy. The project is so conceptually exciting that the actual content is almost secondary.