Thursday, November 10, 2011

Better Off Without You

Song: Better Off Without You
Artist: Summer Camp
Album: Welcome to Condale

Summer Camp are London-based duo Elizabeth Sankley & Jeremy Warmsley, their sound is an 80's-influenced mix of rock, synthpop, darkwave, and pop.  Many are calling their debut, "Welcome to Condale" the soundtrack to a John Hughes movie that never was.  I hear it a bit, but there is also some modern-sounding electronica, not to mention a summer-breeze indie-rock a-la Best Coast feeling to the music.

"Condale" is a fictional California town that Sankley & Warmsley have imagined as a setting for their fictional characters and stories that make up the record.  It's not just the music that sounds like a Hughes soundtrack, it's the entire feeling of the record, with story-songs, snippets of dialogue laid over the music (I recognized a "Weird Science" line in the track "Summer Camp") and a sense that the album is a journey, both musically and as a storyline.

I immediately loved opening track and first single "Better Off Without You," which does sound like a lost classic from a bygone era.  It's pretty great.  But it doesn't typify the record, which like any story, has emotional ups and downs, and surprises with darker, emotional, songs like the stalker synth-epic "I Want You," and the darkwave of "Nobody Knows You."  But just as that dark emotion seems to take the album over, the record picks up again with an effervescent track like "Down" or the impeccably titled "Last American Virgin."

"Welcome to Condale" is an interesting record, one that, based on my handful of spins, has many more layers to discover and get into.  It's as intriguing as it is fun, and as dark as it referential.  Take some time with this one.


Better Off Without You
I Want You

No comments: