Summer Camp - Always

by Miz DeShannon Rating:7 Release Date:2012-07-09

It's hard to find something new, positive and engaging to say about Summer Camp and their third release, the Always EP. They haven't really progressed musically, they still write songs with a repetitive, tormented love theme and they still have a seemingly basic writing ability. But that's the thing - it only seems to be basic. Summer Camp's music isn't too hard to achieve from a technical point of view, but getting the sound and the feeling (ie, the composition) spot-on is a great achievement which some miss so much (see Sleigh Bells for further understanding).

Despite being filled with more tales of love, loss and emotional stuff only girls like listening to, there's a new edge to this album. It's a little different to their debut Young EP and last year's fabulous synth-pop album Welcome to Condale (a made up place, incidentally), and explores a darker side of synth music, a more mature side maybe, picking up more on of Joy Division/Depeche Mode/Portishead influences than the pop ones.

With 'Life', 'Always' and 'Outside' retaining their skipping, bouncing dicso-pop sound, knack for hooky vocals, and Sankey's soaring ballad-like vocals with harmonies, this band are so 80s it's fantastic. The call-recall way they do the backing vocals, the guitar riffs, the synths, everything brings back the Human League-esque vibe of their first Young EP. 'Hunt' has a great bassline and that signature pitch-shift creeps in again, although it isn't too overused here as it's only on this track.

It's 'City' which makes the difference though. After the usual pop happiness, it's back to the ballads with a more dubby beat in the background, and Hal Williams (of Odd Future) appearing mid-way through. Having asked if he could remix a track they roped him in to be part of one. There's nothing too heavy to detract from their lo-fi surf-pop, but this is definitely a step in a modern direction, which would be only a positive thing for future relases.

Although lyrically the duo seem to have got a little more serious in places than on previous, teenage-heartache filled releases, Summer Camp are never going to be a deep-and-meaningful, through-provoking outfit, but who wants to spent their time being all intense? Let's have some fun, let our hair down, dance a bit, stick on some Summer Camp and get on with it.

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