Last year, Secretly Canadian unearthed a gem from Australian singer Alex Cameron in Jumping The Shark, a debut originally self-released in 2013. Equal parts Suicide, Cold Cave and John Maus, he created something pretty special. Songs like 'The Comeback' and 'Take Care Of Business' are minor synthpop classics in their own right, but were elevated to another level by lyrics that established an enigmatic failed musician persona. On the follow-up, Forced Witness, Cameron runs with that persona and takes it to new places.

First single 'Candy May' is a throwback to an era when crooners sang songs about girls with names like Candy May. The cadence with which he wraps his voice around the chorus exposes a genuine craft in the songwriting. The sheen of the production and saxophone accompaniment (from longtime collaborator Roy Molloy) nevertheless establishes Cameron's aspiration of being a bona fide AM Radio pop star circa 1987, which remains evident throughout the rest of the LP.

The follow-up single 'Stranger's Kiss', a duet with Angel Olsen (who also contributes to backing vocals on 'Candy May') is exceptional. It utilises both their strengths - Olsen’s stellar voice and Cameron’s knack for an oddball turn of phrase - to create arguably the indie rock single of the year.

Unfortunately, the rest of the LP doesn't live up to the promise of the singles. Everything else is a little more kitsch, a little less substantial. Which isn’t to say that it’s entirely throwaway - Cameron’s turn to late Fleetwood Mac shimmer is a far more natural fit than indie-goes-pop heel turns like Arcade Fire’s horrendously misjudged Everything Now or Rilo Kiley’s disappointing farewell Under The Blacklight before it. Cameron actually convinces as a pop star, tracks like ‘Country Figs’, while new single ‘Runnin’ Outta Luck’ and ‘The Hacienda’ have well constructed and catchy choruses that stake his claim.

As with his debut, the songs are elevated by the compelling down-and-out LA sleazeball persona behind them, and there’s a humour that usually lands. This is most evident on ’True Lies’, a catfishing anthem with 50ss guitar twangs straight out of Twin Peaks' Roadhouse bar. An ode to an anonymous internet lover - “even if she’s some Nigerian guy” - it could have come out of the Flight Of The Conchords songbook.

Cameron’s reach for the stars will be a divisive listen. He pulls no punches in creating this character, and the ugly language used to do so, will be viewed as unnecessary by some. But it all hangs together pretty well to create a set of songs that largely transcend the lame pastiches that they can stray close to being.