Camp Cope / Cayetana Split - Review

>> Since Camp Cope dropped their self-titled debut LP back in April on Poison City Records last year, I’ve been hooked on them. From “Done” to “Song for Charlie”, Maq’s exploration of societal pressures, and the guilt of giving into them lingers through the nearly hookless tracks. It’s a ramble. A beautiful personal ramble. The LP is nearly along the lines of fellow Melbournian, Courtney Barnett’s first two EPs. When word got out that Camp Cope was releasing a new split with Philadelphia natives Cayetana in 2017, I was absolutely giddy. January has rolled around now and the split is here, so let’s dive in to examine just what makes this thing tick.

The two tracks provided by Camp Cope continue to scratch that itch of female Australian grunge for me. Kelly-Dawn’s infectious bass lines drive throughout the songs while Maq provides a diverse set of lyrical gems. “Keep Growing” is a song of progress. It’s depressive and self-reflective but it’s chorus wraps around to show a side which wasn’t entirely present on their debut. The anxiety and doubt of unsettled existence isn’t entirely conquered but for just a single moment, with a single action, the crippling dependency on others melts away. “Footscray Station” rings with vignettes, clawing at the seething thought of a better life with another present person. They might provide a creative drive, a possible motivating factor but they also bother to fuck with your trust. Sometimes we push them away, afraid of the change. Sometimes the act is warranted and sometimes, we want to escape it all. It’s a feeling that lives inside of me and Maq summarizes it with such lovely intention. On a technical level, the mix captures the raw energy of Maq’s voice. It’s the right amount of impact the songs need. It’s not overly loud and it’s not bloated. Sam Johnson, really knocked it out of the park with this one. Keep an eye out for the inevitable international success of these guys. It might be hard to make it out of Australia but I have a feeling it won’t be too long until they do.

Cayetana’s contribution to the split sonically contrasts with the sounds of Camp Cope but thematically, it’s actually quite similar. “Mesa” touches on a relationship with an inevitable time limit. It’s upbeat as in the moment things are going well but there’s still the lingering thought that it could end out of nowhere. It reminds me a bit of Amanda X’s Hundreds and Thousands 7” release as well as Waxahatchee’s Ivy Tripp. The split ends with an emotionally haunting track, “Trails”. We find lead singer, Augusta Koch, lingering over a tumultuous relationship in the past. It’s an apt ending thematically to a set of songs from both bands that deal with a certain type of baggage. How we choose to cope with it is dramatically different. I’m looking forward to hearing these guys on February 10th at Mohawk Place. Hopefully one day we’ll be able to see these two bands together on one bill. <<