A delicately recorded and deliberately shambling debut.
Natalie Shaw 2010
Summer Camp arrived shrouded in mystery in late 2009, members’ identities cloaked in the blithe guise of Swedish teenagers who’d met at summer camp. The shroud disintegrated soon enough, the band revealed to be multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Warmsley and journalist Elizabeth Sankey. But this wasn’t met by some dramatic splintering of intrigue, more the sharpening of anticipation and the feeling of something even greater to come.
Less than a year later, the Young EP comes crashing on, bristling with gems from a bygone era where the permanence of relationship drama has been sieved out. The duo’s love for the fuzzy world of 1980s John Hughes movies is paraded for all to see.
Feelings are simplified, halted at the point where contexts become too – if you will – mature, and voices are made to sound hesitant. “Dear, dear, dear, dear, dear / I, I, I, I, I / You, you, you, you, you,” sings Sankey on Ghost Train, high and afraid on teenage melodrama. Squelchy synths, tinny drumbeats and dialogue samples run consistent with Summer Camp’s signature positioning, a spot-lit corner full with awkward couples vying to be the best at being in love.
The singing is often marginally flat, just as the drum beats are occasionally slightly out of sync with the rest of the band, leaving the songs a pin-prick rougher than they might’ve been, and slightly frayed. But this is not a failing – it’s a deft way of mimicking the distance in the song’s love stories.
The dual vocal is a delightful contrast too, with Sankey’s viscid, attention-seeking soar in Veronica Sawyer’s choruses so far away from Warmsley’s murky murmuring on opening track Round the Moon. Chords slide into one another at the perfect millisecond, bringing to life the watered-down versions of fear, disillusion and blinding love in the characters’ hearts. Shying away from a rushed full-length is yet another of Summer Camp’s repertoire of nimble moves, the colossal chorus on Was It Worth It acting as a convivial tease for the future.
This EP is a delicately recorded and deliberately shambling debut, its nostalgia attacked with a rare tenderness. And the pop juice on display suggests that this is just the beginning – let’s befriend them, while it’s still possible.
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