Album Review: Camp Cope ‘Camp Cope’
Beyonce Knowles-Carter recently released her critically acclaimed album ‘Lemonade’, nabbing the number one spot on the ARIA charts in the week of its release. But if we take a deeper look down the charts we’ll find at #36 an album by Camp Cope deserving of the same praise.
The band’s self-titled debut album tackles many of the same themes explored in Bey’s offering, like defining self, femininity, and the regularly unfair relationship between man and woman, but adds a much more relatable, warm atmosphere. But I’m a 22-year-old white male who doesn’t know much about that whole thing so, I’m just going to point at it and say, “Hey, that comparison’s there and should be made. Could someone more qualified make it?”.
“Camp Cope take Missy’s pleasant tones and sonic-flexibility and roughs them up a little, creating something you’d hear in a small room of a old Australian, weather board house.”
Getting into the music, you can’t really talk about Camp Cope’s sound without drawing comparisons to Courtney Barnett, but I think you can go even deeper. Camp Cope sounds like what Missy Higgins would sound like if she had a handful more rock influence, and a handful less pop. Camp Cope take Missy’s pleasant tones and sonic-flexibility and roughs them up a little, creating something you’d hear in a small room of a old Australian, weather board house.
Easily and by far the stand out of Camp Cope is vocalist Georgia Maq, the tone of her voice is warm and incredible, and her delivery of the uniquely Australian lyrics are undeniably perfect.
The instrumentation side of things is a little funny, the simplicity of the whole album is what creates the incredible atmosphere but sometimes it really limits the band. Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich’s bass regularly comes to the front of songs like Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steal Beams, Done, and Stove Lighter, setting the pace and accenting the rhythm just enough so a crowd might actually dance. But the simplicity of the instrumentation really does cause an issue with some songs running into each other and getting lost in the noise. There are, however, three absolute crackers!
One of the slowest and most mellow songs of the album West Side Story bleeds melancholy and it’s beautiful. The laboured drums of Sarah Thompson epitomises the feeling the song creates, almost dragging your shoulders down but forcing you forward. About two thirds through the song changes pace, lifting your shoulders. It’s our first glimpse of GMaq’s outrageous outraged vocals, incredible stuff!
The lead single of the album, Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Beams, was a perfect choice to get audiences energised and excited for the album’s release. The running guitar sets the pace for a bouncy, high energy song, while the bass adds enough sway so audiences won’t be stuck bouncing up and down but encouraged to use the whole moshpit.
“Not only does Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Beams touch on the previously mentioned unequal relationship between man and woman, but also abuse of power as a whole.”
In my opinion the greatest part of Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Beams is how it wraps strong messages into a fun, digestible four-minute track. Not only does it touch on the previously mentioned unequal relationship between man and woman, but also abuse of power as a whole. The chorus does this really well, explaining how people in power use lies to control the masses; “It’s the trophy wives/raising trophy wives/raising children on TV,/scared of people like you and me”. This shows how people in power (in this case parents) can misuse that power. Overall the song’s equal parts fun and political.
Stove Lighter is a mid-paced song, it’s not as fast as Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Beams and definitely not as slow as West Side Story. It, just like the rest of the album, is a nice combination of bass, guitar, and drums, but what really grabs you is the song’s narrative. It opens a little depressing, speaking about people looking down on you and feeling lost. The atmosphere takes a turn with an incredible harmony at, “We still have to light the stove with a light“, the narrative taking a turn to acceptance and finding a place. Deep!
All in all this is an incredible album from a band who’s sure to be a staple in Australia music for the coming years. I’m giving it three-and-a-half Happy Jacks, just so that I can give the next album four and the next five.
Camp Cope Album Launch Tour
FRI 13 May
John Curtin Hotel, Melbourne
SAT 14 May
Crown & Anchor, Adelaide
FRI 20 May
Black Wire Records, Sydney
SAT 21 May
SAT 28 May
Get Tickets HERE