After a number of years of chopping their enamel in Melbourne’s underground scene, Camp Cope gained widespread consideration outdoors their native Australia with the discharge of 2018’s How you can Socialise & Make Associates. Concurrently brash and honest, the album tackled heavy subjects — misogyny within the music business, sexual assault, the dying of a cherished one — with an unrelenting aplomb, making Camp Cope one of the vital hyped indie-punk outfits of the late 2010s.
But on Operating With the Hurricane, which arrives 4 years after the group’s breakthrough effort, the trio of Georgia Maq, Kelly-Daybreak Hellmrich and Sarah Thompson have swapped punk fury for folky romanticism, channeling the brutal honesty that first endeared the band to audiences into an emotionally intimate assortment of tender-hearted indie rock. The album — which borrows its title from a tune written by Maq’s late father, Australian musician Hugh McDonald — finds the group embracing a gentler, extra introspective method, triggered partially by the results of self-isolation introduced on by the pandemic. To run with the hurricane is to not be consumed by chaos, however to acknowledge its transformative energy, approaching the turbulence of life — heartbreak, failed expectations, insecurity — not as one thing to be feared, however somewhat one thing to be confronted head-on with wild abandon. “I’m climbing out, I can really feel the air/I really feel it prefer it’s at all times been there,” Maq sings on the standout title observe. “It says, ‘The one manner out is up’/I can stretch my legs and run/I’m taking my place, operating with the hurricane.”
These themes of development and reclamation weave all through the album, centered round a free narrative that, not like most heartbreak information, embraces the bittersweet aftermath of affection misplaced. Right here, there may be magnificence in ache, energy in failure. As a substitute of rage and remorse, Maq pines for empathy and absolution (“Sing Your Coronary heart Out”). Fleeting romances aren’t agonized over, however memorialized in tiny, joyous elegies delivered with the confident perspective that solely comes with the passage of time (“Say the Line”). Recurrent imagery of fireplace, hurricanes, chains function stand-ins for psychological torment meant to be conquered. At instances, Operating With the Hurricane is nearly uncomfortable in its familiarity, as Maq’s intentionally imprecise and infrequently incomplete lyrics play out like snippets of secrets and techniques muttered to oneself in moments of seclusion. However, it’s this intimacy that, at its strongest factors, permits the album to command consideration even throughout essentially the most humble, uncovered moments — the musical model of talking softly whereas carrying a giant stick.
Transient glimpses of the scrappy vocals exhibited on Camp Cope’s earlier albums seem all through the file — the jubilation in Maq’s voice when she exclaims, “Look out boys!” on “Operating With the Hurricane,” when she virtually breaks right into a yelp on the refrain of “Jealous” — however the house between albums has allowed the group to develop the arrogance wanted to additional refine their sound. When not occupied by her day job within the nursing area, Maq spent the pandemic re-training her voice — and the transformation is very evident on album opener, “Caroline” as she envelopes the tune in gentle, virtually hushed candy nothings. Whereas devotees of the band may balk on the considered a “finely tuned” Camp Cope, the evolution displayed right here is merely an enlargement of the groundwork beforehand laid by the band somewhat than an entire reinvention. Even at their most DIY, Camp Cope was unabashedly emotive and earnest; on Operating With the Hurricane, the trio leans into these parts for their very own profit.
On “Blue,” the band flirts with nation, the tune’s refrain buffeted by lush vocal harmonies that evoke the early output of The Chicks as Maq tackles the anxieties of showing too over-eager to a love curiosity. “Telephone in my hand, nonetheless checking for those who referred to as,” she sings. “I’m double texting/No, I’ve by no means been cool.” (The idea of “double texting” makes multiple look on Operating With the Hurricane, tethering the album to the stresses of a hyper-connected, always-online world.) “Jealous,” one other album spotlight, is an indie pop earworm a couple of accomplice so emotionally distant that their canine turns into the goal of Maq’s envy. Propelled by a buoyant bassline from Hellmrich, the observe offers a superficially gentler tackle the central idea of Iggy Pop’s “I Wanna Be Your Canine,” however the subvertly sexual ingredient nonetheless lingers beneath the floor: “Nonetheless received my collar on, it used to choke me out/I by no means actually was into it however I’m sentimental now.”
Regardless of the triumphs on Operating With the Hurricane, the band tends to meander and linger on related concepts over the span of a number of songs in a fashion that feels unnecessarily repetitive. This lack of dynamism is most obvious within the file’s midsection. But the album’s excessive factors reveal the total potential behind Camp Cope’s newly honed sound. Nearer “Sing Your Coronary heart Out” begins as a delicate piano ballad earlier than culminating in a crescendo of thunderous drums and distorted guitars, as Maq reassures an unnamed topic (maybe herself) that point heals all wounds. “You aren’t your previous, not your errors/Not your cash, not your ache,” she sings. “Not the years you spent inside/You may change and so can I.” It’s in these moments that Operating With the Hurricane wields immense energy in its vulnerability, giving house to uncomfortable feelings and embracing self discovery — making it a confident and sincere endeavor from a band seemingly unafraid to go wherever the hurricane leads them.