Album review: Welcome to Condale – Summer Camp

Summer Camp might have been secretive, hiding in MySpace, but recently they revealed their identities – Jeremy Warmsley, with an acclaimed solo album in 2006, The Art of Fiction, and Elizabeth Sankey, freelance journalist and an editor of Platform Magazine, have teamed up to create an album that takes you on a journey of love and innocence.

‘Better Off Without You,’ is a perfect introduction. An upbeat pop song, perfect for those lazy days in the sun and worthy of being an accompaniment to any scene with Molly Ringwald and her jangly and garish accessories. Sankey sings with a style reminiscent of Debbie Harry, proving herself capable of reaching high pitched harmonies. In contrast, Warmsley provides slower and more monotonous backing vocals and that provides a balance that other “him and her” bands cannot compete with.

‘I Want You,’ is a pure example of how Summer Camp transport you back to days of school, spending time gazing over lost loves (“I need you/and I think that if you thought about it you’d know you need me to/because I want you”).

‘Nobody Knows You,’ ‘Down’ and ‘Welcome to the Condale,’ seem to morph into one. Not a necessarily bad thing; when ‘Done Forever,’ comes on, with its creepy, eerie goth Cat’s Eyes-esque melody you are pleasantly reminded how beautiful and versatile Sankey’s voice is and how well Warmsley manipulates the synth to create such varied sounds.

The album ends with ‘Ghost Train’ and ‘1988.’ On ‘Ghost Train,’ Sankey sings “You held my hand and told me/try hard not to think/you probably can’t picture/that look in my eyes.” The summer is over and it’s time to take off the rose-tinted glasses and retreat back into the real world.

Summer Camp may be entering a genre that is saturated – there are plenty of boy-girl duos (John & Jehn, Big Deal + Tennis) – but Sankey’s sweet vocals coupled with Warmsley’s dark layered synth that follows you throughout the album, giving it a crisp edge, definitely sets them apart from their counterparts.

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