Camp Cope – How to Socialise & Make Friends

What separates Camp Cope from other hyped indie bands aren’t the messages in their songs. That’s not to disarm the heavy topics captured in the lyrics of sophomore album How to Socialise & Make Friends. These songs resound because the messenger – singer and guitarist Georgia “Maq” McDonald – knows just how to make you feel her frustrations, fears and fury.

That’s not to put too much focus on just one person. This ain’t spoken word, after all. Bassist Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich and drummer Sarah Thompson accelerate the pace when the messenger needs to shout and musically commiserate when stoicism takes hold.

Anger is an energy right out of the gate, with “The Opener” blasting indie rock mansplainers. Two songs later, the topic of sexual assault within music communities makes “The Face of God” one of the most harrowing and important songs released so far this year. Both go straight to the meat of the matter. Not with political sloganeering or hashtags in the making, but through detailed stories that better expose vermin in soft boys’ clothing.

When Maq slows things down for the abstract “Sagan-Indiana” and the introspective “Omen,” it proves her as more than a much-needed politicized voice in indie rock. The former involves the sort of detail-oriented songwriting that’s probably due as much to the influence of Australian folk music as it is to the trio’s presumed teenage obsessions with punk and indie rock. Maq, the daughter of the late Austrian folk musician Hugh McDonald, at times reflects the spirit of the empathetic and poetic Joan Baez, crossed with the rock ‘n’ roll attitude of the equally brilliant Joan Jett.

Each track has its merits, but it’s the politically-conscious material that’ll likely woo listeners here in the States. The band doesn’t just yell over the opposition. They shut them down, presenting a detailed case against the problematic elements in a lot of scenes.

Camp Cope
How to Socialise & Make Friends
[Run for Cover]