Summer Camp - Welcome to Condale
Not aware of Summer Camp? This is their first album proper following last year's excellent Young EP, so why should you be? Back before it was standard, Jeremy Warmsley was doing a rather nice job - excelling even - at the romantic, braces-wearing, geek-chic end of the singer/songwriter spectrum. Elizabeth Sankey was a scribe over at NME, scribbling away about bands she probably wanted to front. Together, the two form Summer Camp, a duo that takes Warmsley's sometime electronic leanings and shapes them into sweet-as-sugar pop songs directed by John Hughes and starring Sankey as our cooing heroine.
This is a great album. The indie blogs were dribbling (and rightly so) at the prospect of this pairing but it's pop fans, old and new, who should embrace this album and start scribbling 'I heart Summer Camp' on their biology textbooks. 'Ghost Train', which first appeared on Young, has graduated to album status and its catchy, woozy, dreamy-eyed scene-setting sits well alongside new tracks and live favourites like the eponymous 'Summer Camp'. Sankey takes lead on vocals, lending songs such as 'Better Off Without You' and 'Done Forever' the naivety and vulnerability of a sixteen year-old singing her diary entries out loud, while Warmsley provides his own vocal talents here and there (check out 'Brian Krakow', named so after My So-Called Life's loser-in-teen-love) but is primarily concerned with imbuing this lo-fi pop gold with as much gravitas as possible.
By the end of Welcome to Condale, you'll want to watch Pretty in Pink and Heathers back-to-back and maybe have a good cry about the fact that Andrew McCarthy nor either one of the Coreys asked you to prom. It's angsty, nostalgic, tear-stained, knowing, a little bit drunk, purposefully adolescent and vibrant because of it: basically, it's a celebration of youth and all the seemingly universal trials, tribulations and heightened dramas that come with the territory. If you enjoy The Drums' East Coast indie boy take on foppish 80s Brit-pop, you'll love this quintessentially British pair's lovingly constructed paeans to the American teen dream.