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Camp Cope - How To Socialise & Make Friends (Album Review)

Thursday, 08 March 2018 Written by Laura Johnson

Photo: Naomi Beveridge

“Just get it all out, put it in a song.”

That’s the chorus of Anna, the fourth track on Camp Cope’s new album. It’s one of a number where singer and guitarist Georgia Maq uses up everything in her vocal tank. Throughout ‘How To Socialise & Make Friends’, the Australian indie-punk trio’s second LP, she leaves the listener breathless with her performance and candid lyrics that hit like well-aimed punches to the gut.

Album two finds Camp Cope just as outspoken as on its predecessor, though this time they cast their net wider.

Maq details sexual assault and inequality in the music industry, delivering her words with a sincere, intense sense of frustration. Apologists beware.

The Opener, one of the LP’s singles, has become a rallying point, harking back to Maq’s public criticism of the lack of diversity on the line up of Falls Festival earlier this year.

“Just get a female opener, that’ll fill the quota,” she sings. The sentiment rings true in numerous other instances. It’s a track filled with pertinent one liners and hits the nail on the head so hard it obliterates the thing.

“All my success has got nothing to do with me, tell me again how there just aren’t that many girls in the music scene,” Maq yells, continuing: “It’s another straight, cis man who knows more about this than me. It’s another man telling us we’re missing a frequency.”

The Face of God, meanwhile, recounts an assault. “I had to leave because I had to say no and stop more than once, way too many times, but he just kept trying to change my mind,” Maq sings, later taking aim at the responses offered when predators are called out. “Could it be true? You don’t seem like that kind of guy,” she sings. “Not you, you’ve got that one song that I like.”

She is equally as frank when commenting on herself and her family, something which is apparent on I’ve Got You, a track about her late father. You won’t find any double standards in Camp Cope, while the record’s sharp edges are countered brilliantly by softer, more intimate moments that are reminiscent of their debut.

With Maq’s words stealing the focus, the music accompanying them could get overlooked. That would be a shame. Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich’s basslines intricately fill the gaps left by Maq’s lo-fi guitar, which also goes it alone at times. This ability to know when to forge ahead and when to pull back is key.

In January the band posted on social media: “2018 resolution? Be louder than ever. We are not scared, try us.” Mission accomplished. There is no ambiguity on  ‘How To Socialise & Make Friends’. The issues raised, whether they are personal, political, or both, are addressed with a directness that may intimidate some, but that will inspire more.  The time for bullshit is over.


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