It sometimes feels as if there has been an ’80s revival going on ever since the decade ended. This has not always been a welcome thing, of course. A lot of the music in the ’80s was pretty fucking dire and so I suppose it stands to reason that many of the bands so heavily influenced by the decade are equally dire. That said, the ’80s had enough genius within it’s musical ranks to make it a decade well worth re-visiting – if you are good enough to do it right.
Summer Camp do it right.
A perfect couple in every sense of the word, multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Warmsley and singer Elizabeth Sankey have made something bordering on special with their debut EP Young.
And yes, every second of every song on this record absolutely screams of the ’80s. There is a reference to Teen Wolf, samples from the movie Say Anything and two of the tracks here – ‘Veronica Sawyer’ and ‘Jake Ryan’ – take their names from characters of the movies Heathers and Sixteen Candles respectively. ’80s cinema it seems, is something of an obsession for Summer Camp.
Let us all be extremely thankful then, that their music is considerably less cheesy than their DVD collection. Young is an example of synth laden pop music at it’s absolute best. It is catchy, woozy and romantic. It is charming, witty and beautiful.
Opener ‘Round The Moon’ is hazy and reverb-heavy with the kind of chorus that Human League would have killed for. ‘Was It Worth It’ sounds like Gary Numan and The Bangles all at the same time and shows Sankey’s more sinister side as she warns a neglectful boyfriend ‘My Brother is huge, he’s gonna take care of you‘ but it’s delivered in such a sweet, breezy vocal that it is difficult to take the threat too seriously.
‘Veronica Sawyer’ depicts a party from hell while ‘Ghost Train’ possess the catchiest chorus on the record and a wonderfully delicate vocal.
The best was definitely saved until last, though. Closer ‘Jake Ryan’ is the perfect slice of understated pop. It is almost impossibly melancholic and self deprecating as a seemingly fragile Sankey sings over a beautiful bed of synths ‘No calls or texts from you. And that’s called heartache and that’s what I want… Go on and ruin me.’
Summer Camp displayed a preference for anonymity when they first started making waves. Even now all of the photographs on their website are of old snaps of teenagers from – not surprisingly – the ’80s, rather than pictures of the two of them.If they continue to make records of this quality, however, holding onto any amount of anonymity at all might prove very difficult indeed.