Sweet, Sweet Summertime
The return of 80’s pop—not exactly news. The Killers have been rocking synthesizers in the mainstream while Twin Shadow’s rule the underground with their own style of Reagan-era grooves, competing with Vivian Girls and The Drums. So is there room for yet another sun-drenched synth-pop band? London’s Summer Camp answers a definite “Yes” with their third record, Always. Released by Moshi Moshi Records (home of dance darling Lykke Li), Always features five tracks of infectious beats and shimmery vocals; imagine if Washed Out met Madonna. The duo blends sugary sweet melodies of their 2010 Young EP with the chilled-out vibe of 2011’s Welcome to Condale, producing a multi-faceted album that leaves listeners begging for more.
Thematically, Always reverses a typical summer love story. Elizabeth Sankey’s breathy delivery on opener “Life” evokes impassioned late-night devotion–-“And if the blackness closes in / I’ll be waiting here for you”–but by the end, she and bandmate Jeremy Warmsley chant the lusty lyrics, “Time is passing by / we’re gonna die so come on, come on, come on, give yourself to me.” Lovers regress from eternal vows to spontaneous play with a youthful, passionate spirit that flows throughout the album.
Most notably, Summer Camp does so without the expected slow-down, the heartbreaker ballad of most young love albums. “Hunt” jives like a girl-power/dance anthem and “City” stretches like a highway in August, chasing 7 o’clock summer shadows. For a band who once withheld their names, Summer Camp forces themselves into the limelight with an album this good. Every track could stand as a single, but together they create a powerful little record where each song is tight and exact, making the most out of 19 minutes – hardly enough.