Campdogzz

In Rounds

15 Passenger

Aug 03, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Buyer beware: Campdogzz's sophomore record arrives via Cursive's label 15 Passenger, but it's not even close to post-hardcore. In Rounds sounds more like a different idol from Campdogzz's native Chicago: Angel Olsen. Its rollicking, melancholy, unabrasive melodies are undeniable, whether for rock, folk, emo, or post-hardcore fans.

A massive swath of In Rounds' charm stems from vocalist Jess Price's magnificent voice. It boasts both the sort of longing most often associated with folk and the primal strength of grunge's forebears. The same can be said for much of the music she and her band create: The atmosphere on "Souvenir" feels fitting for the countryside, but its grungy underbelly faintly recalls the Pixies classic "Where Is My Mind?" On "On My Own," her layers of vocal harmony soar over guitars that reverberate as expansively as in Midwestern tunes while offering fuzz-drenched guitar solos that root the band in punk. Even when it's not Price on the mic, such as on the Mike Russell-sung last track "Sorceress," a delicate balance between guitar-based popular music's softer and more aggressive sides prevails. "Sorceress" is the closest Campdogzz gets to writing its Fleetwood Mac tribute (Russell's voice sounds shockingly similar to Lindsey Buckingham's), a stunning seven-minute closer.

What's especially fascinating about the peculiar way that Campdogzz straddle the line dividing folk and rock is that they wind up resembling some emo bands in their later years (Russell was, after all, formerly in a band with ties to Maps & Atlases). In the melancholy, gradual sweep of "In Rounds," the autumn rustle of folk-adjacent emo bands such as Tiny Moving Parts presents itself. Across "Batshit," what might be Price's most melancholy vocal take on the album collides with a spurt of strings that might elsewhere provide a stark contrast to jolting emo vocals. In pulling from so many styles, In Rounds offers something to all sorts of listeners, even the post-hardcore guys in Cursive. (www.campdogzz.bandcamp.com)

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