Aching with angst and anger, Camp Cope’s latest album How to Socialise & Make Friends is alternative in both sound and spirit. This Australian trio has been outspoken about the casual sexism of the music industry, as well as sexual assault and abuse for a few years now, rising up well before the #MeToo Movement to speak (and write songs) about inequalities. The new album is a burgeoning summation of everything that Camp Cope has stood for since their inception. At times, the voice of lead singer Georgia “Maq” McDonald is so animalistic and gripping that it seems to be the only sound coming out of the speakers. Vocals and lyrics play a huge role in the success of this group. How to Socialise & Make Friends is a well-warranted slap in the face and (hopefully) a sign of what to expect for the future of the music industry.
There is nothing stealthy about the lyricism of Camp Cope: it is explicit, scornful, heartfelt. The strength of this album comes from the lyrics, and while Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich and Sarah Thompson provide a structural rhythm to each track with each slap of the bass and lick of the drums, it is really the empowering vocal performance from McDonald that stands out. Each song is a carefully worded tapestry spun into tight rungs and built to withstand even the harshest issues. There is no chaos in Camp Cope, only straight-forward and thought provoking songs that really put the mind to work.
Of the numerous hard-hitting issue songs, there is an angst that also implores the listener to take action, almost as if this trio is sick and tired of being sick and tired. How to Socialise & Make Friends is the responsibility falling upon the listeners, a provocation to take action. In other words, taken from the track “Anna”: “Just get it all out / Put it in a song”. This is band’s way of poking the bear, so to speak. They can’t be the torch carriers forever. There are such simple yet underestimated truths to the work of Camp Cope in this new album. The more in-depth listening, the better.