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Welcome to Condale

Summer Camp

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Album Review

Summer Camp’s 2010 EP Young signaled the arrival of a band with a really strong idea: taking '80s-influenced pop songs and running them through the murky chillwave sound (lots of wobbly synths, vocal reverb, and tinny drum machines) to end up with a sound that was akin to a David Lynch version of a John Hughes teen movie, a chilly, weird take on the '80s bolstered by Elizabeth Sankey's brilliant voice and very strong hooks. On their first full LP, Welcome to Condale, Sankey is still astonishingly good, sounding like she could be a total diva but still having the restraint to fit herself snugly into the constraints of the songs. What’s changed is that the overall feel is less Lynch and more Hughes as the duo (Sankey and Jeremy Warmsley) has erased most of the warped weirdness from Summer Camp's sound, playing it relatively straight throughout. There are songs that would fit right into the track list of the Pretty in Pink soundtrack with nary a blink of an eye; “Better Off Without You,” “Summer Camp,” “Welcome to Condale,” “1988,” and “Down” all have immediate hooks and a slickly punchy processed sound that are perfectly '80s and unabashedly pop. Sankey and Warmsley sing together like their cinematic lives were on the line, producer Steve Mackey (of Pulp) bathes them in chilly synths, and you can imagine Molly Ringwald mooning over preppy guy as the songs play. These are the songs on the album that work the best; their lack of weirdness gives the melody and emotion a chance to sink in.

Biography

Formed: October, 2009

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

U.K. artists Jeremy Warmsley and Elizabeth Sankey started making music together as Summer Camp in October of 2009, and their sunny wash of mellow C-86 pop was a timely fit with the lo-fi synth pop craze (coined "chillwave") that was sweeping the States. With their identity concealed, Warmsley and Sankey posted a short series of videos that went viral due to their clever usage of old gauzy movie footage — "Ghost Train" rearranged the tame scenes from the 1969 X-rated film Last Summer, and "Round...
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Welcome to Condale, Summer Camp
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