Summer Camp Summer CampWelcome To Condale
MOSHI MOSHI / APRICOT RECORDINGS
There has been a tendency this summer, to wrap perfect pop songs in swathes of reverb; well-crafted melodies, lurking behind blistering walls of sound. Not here. Summer Camp are unabashed; their harmonious vocals struttingly upfront in the mix. If you’ve got it, I guess it’s perfectly fair to flaunt it - and Elizabeth Sankey and Jeremy Warmsley clearly have a lot to flaunt.
“Welcome To Condale” opens with the glorious “Better Off Without You”. Summer Camp know how to construct a damn good chorus and they take full advantage of their talent from the outset. It’s all propulsive claps and flourishing synths; wonderfully woven with soaring vocals. In short, simple lines layered masterfully. Within half a minute I’m having a hard time restraining my impulse for an enthusiastic bop (the issue being I’m on a crowded commuter train: awkward).
“Simple lines, layered masterfully” extends to the treatment of their influences. Whilst their debut EP, “Young”, was a nostalgic homage to memories formed by John Hughes – “Welcome To Condale” widens the net. A Post-New Wave patchwork of 60's Spector, early 555 and 80’s dream pop; Molly Ringwald cameo’s in My So Called Life. Produced by Pulp’s Steve Mackey, Summer Camp’s lo-fi sensibilities are still very much in-tact. Their saccharine lilt is blurred around the edges, underscored by lyrics that would sit happily in Heathers. In “I Want You” Sankey swoons “If I could I’d kiss your lips so hard your entire face would bruise / Write your name in blood on every wall it would make the evening news” with apathetic ferocity, whilst on “Brian Krakow” Warmsley quips “I don’t care about your dreams, I’d rip you apart at the seams”. Vocally the expressive experimentation on “Welcome To Condale” is impressive. The aching affectations engage - tellingly it’s the outsiders rather than the prom queens who are directly referenced.
“Down” is a real stand out track. Fuzz filled guitars, propelled by drum machines to synth drenched highs. Walmsley and Sankey’s vocals combine beautifully on the chorus and my impulse for an enthusiastic bop returns.
Although seemingly incongruous, the autumn release for Summer Camp’s debut album is perfectly timed. “Welcome To Condale” is concerned with illusions – rather than the soundtrack to your summer, it chimes with your hazy mis-remeberences of it .