Pleasantries, No Pain
As helpful as it is sometimes to sob your eyes out driving home listening to the radio or thrash violently in the pit at a show, not all music helps you purge your deepest fears and frustrations. Some is just pleasant and head-boppable. Like a mild breeze on a warm day, you don’t expect it to change your life or inspire a novel, but it’s nice when it happens.
Summer Camp make music like this. It isn’t loud, it isn’t tortured and it isn’t offensive. It is finely crafted light-electro-alt-pop with enough warmth and spirit and clarity to fit your good day (but it may lose you if you’re having a bad one). Vocalist Elizabeth Sankey ranges from pop diva to R&B songstress to sweet librarian, sounding sometimes like a less-cheeky Lily Allen or a milder Natasha Bedingfield. She speaks often of the complications of relationships, the urgencies of life and various facets of heartbreak, but her delivery is fairly well adjusted. She just sounds okay with it all, even when addressing insanity.
The band’s self-titled new album isn’t quite the dance music collection that their 2012 EP Always was, exploring a bigger range of structures and genres. The production is crisp and well suited to the beat-driven arrangements that support Sankey’s fluid voice. There are plenty of ready-for-radio choruses to be found, like on “Try Again” (“To spend the day with you”) and “Everything” (“And all they is everything has changed / You better be okay with it / It’s not going away”) but the standout track might be the drawn-out “Two Chords,” with a slow-building mood setting not dissimilar to LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends.”
Summer Camp is truth in advertising, with perfectly feel-good songs to serve as a summer soundtrack in a carefree world.