Camp Cope recently covered Sam Fender’s track “Seventeen Going Under”. There’s a line in the song that’s gone TikTok viral, but also equally represents the progression of Camp Cope pretty well. ‘That’s the thing with anger/ it begs to stick around’. It’s poignant and pertinent but easily highlights the longevity and mentality of the Melbourne three-piece who’ve taken on the music industry and are seemingly doing pretty well to beat it.
Bursting out in 2016 with their self-titled debut album, Camp Cope’s sound has progressed from a bare-boned punk vibe, through to second album How to Socialise & Make Friends‘ relatable mix of pop-tinged punk, and now onto the third album Running with the Hurricane, an evolved jump away from their previous releases. The album has a more pop-centric sound, all the while still managing to not lose the essence of what has made Camp Cope become so notable to so many. This push towards a more traditional pop sound (with hints of country) has evolved out of frontwoman and vocalist Georgia Maq‘s solo adventures into pop with her 2019 album Pleaser. With the belief that her songwriting can now go beyond that of Camp Cope’s first two albums, Running with the Hurricane has been developed with the depth and breadth of these pop sounds and the belief that change as an artist is required for improvement holistically.
Opening track “Caroline” is a prime example of the middle ground the band has landed on with Running with the Hurricane. Largely revolving around Maq’s vocals and the bass licks of Kelly Hellmrich (which tend to take a more pivotal place in Camp Cope songs than you’d generally expect from a bass line in alt-music), “Caroline” is a calming yet concerning take on disjointed relationships and misplaced affection, that has moved away from the earlier angst-driven themes delivered on their earliest works. Staying within the alt-country space, “One Wink At a Time” is cut from the same cloth as “Caroline”, with added harmony layers (also seen readily on lead single “Blue”; a masterpiece in its own right) and subtle horns helping bring the song full circle. It’s at this point you fully realise Running with the Hurricane will not be the Camp Cope you’ve come to know, and honestly, you’ll be pretty happy about it.
Treading the line between what they have become as a band and what they once were (sound, themes, content), “Love Like You Do”, “Jealous” and “The Mountain” is a great mid-album hattrick that embraces the sounds of their first two albums, while leaning even further into the quality the trio bring en masse: Georgia’s vocals and lyrics, Kelly’s mastery of the bass, and drummer Sarah Thompson‘s (more commonly known as Thomo) neat ability to bring and hold it all together on the skins.
The biggest moments on the album come on the titular track, the second to last “Say the Line” and closer “Sing Your Heart Out”. The obvious single on the album, “Running With the Hurricane” has all the hallmarks of being a set favourite for years to come and feels like the type of four minutes that will do massive things for the band in the American market. The most upbeat of the album’s ten songs, it feels like the spiritual follow up to fan favourite “Keep Growing” and I have a feeling will feature on many self-growth playlists indefinitely.
“Say the Line” features the best-layered harmonies on the album, with its closing 30 seconds being my personal favourite half-minute of the release. It’s delicious and warm and reaffirms the qualities of both the album and the band. “Say the Line” is the type of song you look forward to hearing live, as you can already hear the crowd eating up every second of it. The album ends on “Sing Your Heart Out”, four minutes of piano-led brilliance filled with the empowering lyric ‘you can change and so can I’ written by Maq in an attempt to help her and others find peace in their lives.
I’ve written previously about bands and albums that will shape the lives of those who listen to it; artists like Angie McMahon and Maggie Rogers and their respective debuts. I have a strong feeling Running with the Hurricane will be just as pivotal. Gone is the anger that filled their earlier works and in its place is a determination to grow as people and as a band; something that suits Camp Cope incredibly well.
FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Running with the Hurricane is out now
Header image credit: Nick Mckk