Review: Summer Camp – Bad Love

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Fully-charged

A fast-paced and exciting album, sparkling with Elizabeth Sankey's precise vocals.

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Bad Love sees duo Summer Camp return for the first time since 2014’s original soundtrack to high school movie exploration Beyond Clueless. The album is surging with energy and sees the band departing from the teenage angst present on 2009’s Welcome to Condale, but consciously admits that teenage relationships will always repeat themselves – no matter how old you are. Bad Love presents an interplay between the band’s relationship, often alternating between Jeremy Warmsley and Elizabeth Sankey on lead vocals, creating a conversation between the two throughout.

Bad Love was headed by the release of its title track last month, which paved the way for the sound of the album. ‘Bad Love’ reintroduces the fast-paced lyrics of Summer Camp, combining them with a soaring synth back up, which allows listeners to be drawn in from the start. ‘You’re Gone’ keeps up with this fast pace before mellowing out, introducing Warmly’s vocals to Bad Love. His vocals add a little less intensity than Sankey’s, and are gently offset by her “na na na”s throughout the chorus, which is simple and catchy. ‘Sleepwalking’ opens with a decidedly disco vibe and in keeping with the name presents a distant sleepiness, which slows Bad Love down. Its moments like this that showcase Sankey’s precise vocals as the strongest element on the album.

‘Run Away’ marks the midway point of Bad Love. It is more stripped down than other tracks, focalising Sankey’s vocals with gentle coos and echoes in the background, but still continues the presence of simple and repetitive choruses. Other songs that slow Bad Love down and step back a bit include ‘Angela’ and ‘Beautiful’. Although the change of pace is enjoyable, ‘Drive Past My House’, with its groovy opening that harks back to the sound found on Summer Camp’s ‘Fresh’, is very welcome. Fast-paced and fully-loaded are where Summer Camp are at their best on Bad Love, as is prominent towards its ending.

‘Keep Up’ concludes Bad Love with a racing percussion undercurrent and Elizabeth’s impressively fast-paced lyrics. It plays with the listener, literally inviting them to attempt to keep up with the track, which gets tough at times. Summer Camp certainly do not shy away at the end of their album, making ‘Keep Up’ one of its strongest tracks- alongside the album’s opener, ‘Bad Love’. The end of the album will leave your heart racing and hoping for more Summer Camp action.

Summer Camp’s self-produced album is glittering with distorted guitar riffs and sprinkled with exciting synth-play, all held together by the memorable presence of Sankey’s sugary vocals. At times, Bad Love‘s fast pace threatens to get ahead of itself but this works to add urgency to the album. Go with it, and let yourself be immersed in Summer Camp’s Bad Love.

Bad Love is released Monday 25th May via Moshi Moshi.

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Third year English student, Records Editor, list maker and lover of Kinder Buenos.

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