How To Socialise & Make Friends

Where their self-titled debut album waded gently through puddles of breezy emo and kinetic indie-punk, Camp Cope’s throat-gripping follow-up is instantly more potent. Georgia Maq doesn’t just up the ante with her battered chronicles of emotional cataclysm – over loose panes of raw, atmospheric Jazzmaster bends, the frontwoman tackles them with a blunt and unsparing ferocity. She’s notably more confident now than she was just two years ago, and thus performs more acutely: guitar lines hit harder. Messages stick for longer.

Together, the Melbourne trio deal in sparse, aura-heavy soundscapes that allow Maq’s vocals to reign in the foreground. Melodies are driven by Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich’s stout, rollicking basslines – she wields a clean and punchy tone, but one that carries exceptional weight and sounds damn good ringing through quality headphones. The minimalist approach to Camp Cope’s sonic aesthetic makes for some truly memorable passages – on “UFO Lighter”, it’s a winding bassline that lopes over one of Maq’s more feverish nodes with a silvery groove. On standout “The Face Of God”, it’s a stark, beaten strum that drives the knife that is Maq’s confronting lyrics as deep in as humanly possible.

Fans of Camp Cope will have no trouble adapting to How To Socialise & Make Friends: the band’s trademark style remains largely unchanged, but they still find new ways to make cuts sound fresh and exciting. While LP1 focused on strong, early-peaking verse-chorus templates, How To Socialise plays with liberated progressions and dynamic payoffs; see lead single “The Opener”, where two cantering verses wind back for Maq to outright explode in its climax. Or “Sagan-Indiana”, with a leisurely, yet palpable rise in ardour as Maq leaps between pained and impassioned choruses.

Sans one minor nitpick over the tracklisting (“Anna” feels a little out of place sandwiched between “The Face Of God” and “Sagan-Indiana”), How To Socialise & Make Friends is a tough record to find fault in. Its nine tracks are powerful, compelling, weighty – and, most importantly, just really f***ing good.

Review by Matt Doria

How To Socialise & Make Friends is out now via Poison City / Run For Cover
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