Vibrant popsicles that melt all over your hands. Cloudless skies that leave you just a little too toasted. Everything about summer is slightly bittersweet.
Summer Camp‘s latest album Young is not without drawbacks. Young is mostly satisfying, easy pop. Like summer’s ubiquitous ice cream cones, it’s good enough to consume straight through if you don’t mind a little bit of brain freeze.
Brooding support vocals from Jeremy Warmsley effectively highlight girlfriend Elizabeth Sankey‘s clear delivery of the duo’s achingly twee lyrics. They harmonize very well; I immediately thought, Mates of State enter a polyamorous marriage with Feist and sanctify their relationship over dreamy 80s synth beats.” This is a good thing.
Leading track “Round the Moon” could easily be slipped into a hazy dance party soundtrack between a track by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and a remix of the Postal Service. Sankey’s vulnerable, slightly needy voice yearns to be heard. It shines smartly in “Was It Worth It,” the chronicle of a bitter girlfriend’s threats and struggle to reconcile a broken relationship. The song shifts from depressed skepticism about infidelity to a threatening teen-girl anthem (“My brother is huge, he’s gonna take care of you”). “Was It Worth It” is playful, youthful, and not overly saccharine.
Drunk girls draped over chaise lounges, public lip-smacking, and our guide is completely over it. “Veronica Sawyer” steps away from teen-themed pop to narrate the inside of a party. I like the idea of a green band like Summer Camp admitting to the frivolities of their scene, but “Veronica Sawyer” spiraled into a 90s girl power band’s self-righteous anthem, repeating, “I got so much more than this” until I seeked forward.
I don’t think Summer Camp is a one-trick pony. “Ghost Train” is less synthesized, but still foot-tappingly good: a dreamy, propulsive bassline complements chillwave repetition. “Jake Ryan” gets a little groovy while simultaneously sounding like carousel music. It’s an interesting line to straddle and I’m curious as to how a full-length LP will develop. I’m not ready to bet on Summer Camp’s longevity, but I’m happy to let their strong tracks quell my nostalgia for August.
Young EP – Track Listing
1. Round the Moon
2. Was It Worth It?
3. Veronica Sawyer
4. Why Don’t You Stay?
5. Ghost Train
6. Jake Ryan