Summer Camp: Welcome to Condale (Apricot/Moshi Moshi) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Thursday, December 5th, 2019  

Summer Camp

Welcome to Condale

Apricot/Moshi Moshi

Nov 03, 2011 Issue #38 - 10th Anniversary Issue Bookmark and Share


Finally. It seems like ages since Summer Camp emerged mysteriously from a Myspace page in 2009, with band members Elizabeth Sankey and Jeremy Warmsley purporting to actually be a group of seven Swedes who met at summer camp when they were 14. But after its 2010 Young EP, the duo has at last released its debut full-length album. Welcome to Condale is envisioned by Sankey and Warmsley as a quasi-thematic piece surrounding decade spanning events of a fictional town of Condale, California that, according to the band's website, actually is on Eastern Standard Time.

Apart from this somewhat confusing premise, the album is a quite vibrant piece of '80s-flavored pop. Album opener "Better Off Without You" is a big melody overtop a synth line that sounds straight out of 1983. "I Want You" echoes Elvis Costello's song of the same name with its haunting melody, but replaces Costello's building emotional purpose with pulsating synthetic bliss. "Summer Camp" sounds like The Shirelles via Black Moth Super Rainbow, and "Down" cribs the riff of Los Campesinos!' "You! Me! Dancing!" for its opening before launching into its own pretty melody with a bumping low end. Sankey and Warmsley trade vocals on the album, and Warmsley's casual cool yin provides nice contrast to Sankey's glorious and soaring yang. "Ghost Train" from the Young EP is reprised here, but the rest of Welcome to Condale represents Summer Camp growing into its own from mischievous beginnings. Not that everything here works. "Done Forever" is dark and plodding, and "Brian Krakow" doesn't seem to have quite enough melody to balance its anachronistic sound. Sankey and Warmsley have owned up to a serious jones for '80s American culture, especially John Hughes films, and Welcome to Condale finds its authors wearing their love on their sleeves. But who ever said there's anything wrong with big melodies and bigger synths? 

(www.wearesummercamp.com)

 

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