Camp Cope
Camp Cope


3.4
great

Review

by BlushfulHippocrene STAFF
April 22nd, 2016 | 151 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Bones and insecurities

The Tigers Jaw poster stuck to the wall of Georgia Maq's bedroom represents a few things: the love for a genre and the passion for pleasant sounds; perhaps a sign for what was to come and what could be expected; and most potently the eager curiousity which had me attentive and equal parts impatient for the release of the Melbourne singer-songwriter's long-awaited, full-length debut. So when it was announced that Georgia McDonald would band together with fellow musicians Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich and Sarah Thompson to form Camp Cope - and that the three-piece outfit were set to tour with the likes of The Smith Street Band, Jeff Rosenstock and Modern Baseball - the desire to experience the fruition of such an unexpected collective became somewhat unbearable. Enter Camp Cope, the band's debut album, flaws and all.

Lead single 'Jet Fuel Can't Melt Steal Beams' is an offering not too dissimilar to Gmaq's previous political musings, though through distorted jangles and an effervescent lead bass, extends something of a change of pace for the artist, passionate ramblings aside. With their simple, rock-inspired instrumentals, both this track and several others illustrate the most apparent showcase of the members' presence and synergy. Hellmrich's bass lines bob in and around McDonald's repetitive strums, as Thompson's spirited drums excite the sarcastic, frustrated, determined tones of the vocals. ‘Jet Fuel’ and 'Stove Lighter' demonstrate the band's commitment to a particular modern punk-inspired breed of indie rock, the latter of which songs sprinkles in some sweet harmonies and Gmaq's signature brand of vulnerable sarcasm.

Yet the band’s potential doesn’t reach its qualitative climax till the heartbreaking ‘West Side Story’, a cute nod to the Melbourne suburbs the band occupy and the personal tragedies unfolding within them. For while the aforementioned tracks find comfort in their familiar structures and derivative (though nonetheless, for the most part, effective) instrumental prowess, the emotional tenderness of ‘West Side Story’ is only enhanced through the defeated pace of the guitars, and the comparatively bellicose bridge. As the song progresses, Kelly and Thomo offer a sort of fuel to Gmaq’s emotional fire, upon which she delivers some of her most poignant lines.

”I tried to get the audience out from inside my head.
And the things you say are beautiful, but they don’t make very much sense.
From the day that I was born, they took me for all that I had;
And I let them, because they let me in”

Whilst the charm of the band translates well on record, however, the inconsistent production helps little in establishing a departure from their somewhat amateurish sound. Camp Cope in the past have done little more than live recordings and demos, and so while it might be forgivable, the compressed space in which some of these tracks live and fail to breathe can be a bit frustrating. Some tracks are mixed better than others, and the lead bass and vocals are often beautiful, though the tones of the guitar’s distorted rhythms sound unclear and almost indecipherable at certain points.

But Camp Cope succeeds in preventing itself from stumbling over the uneven weight of its own presentation, and instead delivers a handful of well written tracks, straight from the Georgia Maq school of modern indie rock with an emotional folk punk aesthetic. In fact, its songs more than make up for it. Whether the instrumentals were denser or the production clearer, it matters little in the grander scheme of things. Camp Cope will need to improve as a band, something which nothing can foresee. On Camp Cope, however, the trio extend a charming blend of passion and succinct song-writing, an undeniable equation of hard-hitting and lovable music.

‘Song for Charlie’ traipses in and stumbles upon a moment of catharsis, the overwhelming sense of realisation and unwanted deliverance that only death can bring about, and the album ends. Camp Cope traipses in and delivers a cathartic project - successes, failures, insecurities and all. For the most part, Camp Cope isn’t a project full of brand new material (there’s a reference to ex-prime minister Abbott hidden in there), and the addition of the band doesn’t ultimately add all that much to older songs of Georgia Maq’s. But where the band succeeds, the band exceeds all expectations, and new-comers Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich and Sarah Thompson prove their well worth inclusion to the formula, as important as Georgia Maq solo performance ever could have been.

The Tigers Jaw poster stuck to the wall of Georgia Maq’s bedroom represented a few things: the love for a genre and the passion for pleasant sounds; a sign of the dark, anxiety-ridden sound which Camp Cope would come to encompass; and the overwhelming sense of cathartic comfort, satisfaction and understanding which comes from listening to a Camp Cope album. But the nature of these artists isn’t just about the listener or musician; it’s the connection between artist and audience, and it’s a damn fulfilling one at that.



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user ratings (87)
Chart.
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2016


2841 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You can stream and download the album here: https://campcope.bandcamp.com/album/camp-cope

First post, criticisms welcome.

AsleepInTheBack
April 22nd 2016


5952 Comments


Such a solid review man, been looking forward to you putting this out. Brilliant language usage and phrasing throughout, and a really nice roundabout structure.

My only gripe is the first paragraph requires a lot of prior knowledge from the reader, knowledge that I personally lack, and thus it went over my head a bit.



grindcorecore
April 22nd 2016


619 Comments


Neat review. Gotta check this, sounds like something I will like

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2016


2841 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@Asleep, thanks a lot, that means a lot given how solid your first review was. And I understand; I think next time I need to broaden the audience to people on this site. This one ended up directed towards myself and the niche crowd who were looking forward to this record. Thank you for the criticism, I'll work on that.

@grindcorecore, thanks! You should check out Jet Fuel Can't Melt Steel Beams (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKZwRe7-twA); it's not their best, but if you like it you should enjoy the rest on here.

AsleepInTheBack
April 23rd 2016


5952 Comments


Cheer man. And no worries, they seem like a small group with a niche following that this kind of review totally works for

schoonda
April 23rd 2016


1627 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Solid as expected. The ending to West Side Story is great.

Nice review man.

Digging: Blessed (CAN) - Salt

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
April 24th 2016


2841 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@schoonda, thanks man. Ending of West Side Story's my favourite moment on this thing. I love the vocals on Done, too, but it's by far my least favourite song.

schoonda
April 25th 2016


1627 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I feel the middle section the album is the strongest part of the album, 3-7 I really enjoy. Are you seeing them in May?

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
April 25th 2016


2841 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, agreed. Stove Lighter's so much better than I thought it could be, and I've loved Trepidation for a while now. West Side Story's been my favourite song of hers since I heard it, so it was good to see it recorded.

And I doubt it, but I'm going to do my best to. I've only seen Georgia Maq once, opening for Wil Wagner, and it was arguably just as good as Wil. How about you?

schoonda
April 26th 2016


1627 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah agree, wasn't really familiar with GMaq's material apart from her EPs, but yeah agree Trepidation is fantastic.



Yeah got tix with the girlfriend to see them in Melbourne, she absolutely adores GMaq. Yeah I'm actually seeing GMaq and Wil Wagner next Thursday at the Old Bar. Haven't seen a GMaq solo show before so I'm pretty excited.

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
April 27th 2016


2841 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

To be quite honest, she doesn't have the most enthusiastic stage presence, and she seemed rather nervous and quiet, but when she performed it was absolutely beautiful. It's an experience, so I'm sure you and your girlfriend will love it. Interesting contrast to Wil, too, who is very energetic. Only ten or twenty people were there to see her.

YetAnotherBrick
May 7th 2016


6691 Comments


this is really the first review you've ever written? damn dude, impressive. you're already on a pretty advanced level of analysis here. very entertaining to read too. this album/band sound dope too, will check

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
May 7th 2016


2841 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks! I appreciate that, it means a lot. First review I've been comfortable putting up, mostly because I thought it might not get one otherwise. And you should. I'm not too sure whether you'll like it or not, but definitely worth a shot. This might sound bad, but I'm surprised the average rating for this is high as it is - kind of assumed my enjoyment of this was more personal than anything, though it does have things going for it.

PattBraderson
June 8th 2016


149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is a fucking fantastic record.

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
June 28th 2016


2841 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album's gotten more coverage than I though it ever could - all deserved, so I'm glad.

schoonda
June 29th 2016


1627 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

#1 on fasterlouders top albums of 2016 so far!

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
July 30th 2016


2841 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Now that this has gotten a decent amount of ratings, I'm a bit curious: are there a fair number of people from Melbourne/Australia on Sputnikmusic, or has she started gaining a bit more traction overseas? If so, were there a lot of cosigns? The Smith Street Band? Jeff Rosenstock? Modern Baseball? The Hard Aches? When I saw Georgia Maq live, there were no more than 10 or 20 people, and I had a feeling those were either (1) people who were there a bit early for Wil Wagner's performance, or (2) friends. But this band has blown up quite a bit, and I find it interesting. I'm glad to see it, whatever the case.

RadicalEd
August 2nd 2016


9484 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is pretty solid, but I can't help but feel that they basically wrote the (cool) same song 8 times in a slightly different way.

Digging: Fennesz - Agora

doomjitsu
August 2nd 2016


1240 Comments


Camp Cope Yourself

schoonda
August 2nd 2016


1627 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah the guitar progressions are pretty basic. GMaq's voice definitely carries it.



Also I have a huge crush on the bassist holy shit.



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