Jeremy didn’t really gain much recognition for his solo project making quirky folk numbers. But the folk scene is more competitive than you might think and a major breakthrough seemed out of reach despite touring with Regina Spektor in 2006. And now he thinks greater success will come within the even more competitive synthpop scene?
Arguably, he’s already forged a bigger following – with the help of Elizabeth Sankey’s sweet, lusty vocals – behind the facade of Summer Camp. Although I obviously feel that they don’t get enough love otherwise it wouldn’t be here.
So why should you be listening to Summer Camp? It’s nostalgic (comparisons to John Hughes have been done to death), quirkily indie and effervescently bittersweet. The opener to their debut album (Welcome To Condale), ‘Better Off Without You’ epitomises their sound and themes. It’s catchy without boiling over with pop, the synths add a lovely 80s hue and charming melodies would do well not to dispel a grumpy mood.
Although the sound is different, the duo also draws comparisons with Slow Club’s boy-girl partnership – who happen to be signed to Moshi Moshi Records too. And like Slow Club (or any other emotionally unstable boy-girl relationship) messages can easily flicker from self-reconciliation to heartache [‘Losing My Mind’]. But I guess that’s what summer camp was all about (actually I’ve never been and I think it’s a bit late for me to step into one now so I only assume).
Fans of Warmsley’s previous work might be disappointed that he can’t express his compositional range as much with Summer Camp because of the structure of synthpop. There is however, every chance that Summer Camp could develop into something more experimental in the future. Only slightly though because no matter how indie it is, the sound is unavoidably poppy.
In fact, we’ve already seen a glimpse of their next step with the recent Always EP. If Welcome To Condale is reminiscent of those careless, care-free days as a teenager, then the Always EP is Summer Camp all grown-up more grown-up. It’s darker, innocently brooding and will shrug off any expectations you might have had of Summer Camp. Would you ever think they’d throw in a rap verse in the middle of ‘City’? Perhaps this is Jeremy Warmsley wanting to spread his wings a bit. Simple compositions can work well too though; ‘Down’ is a cracking tune!