Camp Cope - Camp Cope
Jul 3, 2016 (updated Nov 21, 2016)
Original Post: If The Hotelier and Hop Along had a baby.

Melbourne’s indie rock trio Camp Cope are likely to take the gold for this year’s best new artist.

Judging from these past two years, you might conclude that Australian female-fronted indie rock bands have a knack for witty lyricism. Last year, Courtney Barnett’s album spread like wildfire with cleverly written hits like “Pedestrian at Best” and “Depreston” shedding some light on the “down under’s” music scene. This year’s Australian stars follow suit with some of the sharpest written verses of the year; except instead of being ironic and smirk provoking, Camp Cope’s specialties are angst and shame.

Singer Maq’s raspy vocals powerfully compelling delivery over simple, yet effective, chords as drummer Thompson smashes on the drums, creates epic emo indie rock that sounds like the love-child of Hop Along and The Hotelier. Opening with the single “Done,” we get taken to a situation where the singer and some friends walk by a person lying on the ground who “could have been dead” but they keep on walking. The theme moves from guilty feelings about that situation to broader guilty introspective thoughts. The themes of guilt and shame are present throughout this entire project. “Flesh and Electricity” is dominated by the lines “I’ve been desensitized to the human body/that I could look at you naked and all I’d see would be anatomy/ Bones and insecurities, Flesh and Electricity, to me.” These lines relate to some real-life experiences Maq had while working at a hospital but clearly encompasses so much more than that.

Most of the album is very personal yet it feels like Maq is speaking directly to the listener most of the time; and even if she’s not, you’ll feel the emotional punch her lyrics pack right in the gut. Lines such as the one at the end of “Lost (Season One)” : “I wanna be losers forever/ drink coffee in bed together/ and not talk to anyone and figure out/ what it is that we have lost” or these lines from “Stove Lighter”: “Those I look up to look down on me/or maybe it’s just my crippling anxiety/ because it’s been happening a lot lately/I think it’s got something to do with you, you make me pretty happy/ I’m just whining about the same shit as yesterday” – seem to hit a universal note that, admittedly for me, make the listener feel emotional time and time again.

The amount of genius spread throughout this debut is baffling; too many to catch your first or second time through. “Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Beams” marks the highest point of this clever collection. It’s a song about how authority figures in society often shame us into buying into their lies. Such as the NRA or select media sources feeding us the concept of “the only way to stop a bad man with a gun, is a good man with a gun.” The title refers to conspiracy theorists believing in 9/11 inside job theories. The song’s climax goes back to this idea when Maq’s furious vocals proclaim: “Nah, jet fuel can’t melt steel beams, I’ve seen enough conspiracy documentaries.” This whole verse marks a turning point for the singer when she’s finally confident those forces looking down upon her are wrong.

The album concludes with “Song for Charlie” which starts to show comfort and healing for the first time this album. Instead of feeling guilt or shame, the singer is offering comfort to her family. The song seems to be about her father who left or passed away. The song ends with the lines: “Oh, and when you’re not okay/ You can always call/ and it was no one’s fault.” Listening to this album from start to finish is quite a journey. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry….well maybe not, but dammit, you will feel something.
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Jul 22, 2016
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