With 'How to Socialise & Make Friends' Camp Cope have released a socially-charged masterstroke

Their finest, most forthright effort to date. 

Camp Cope 

How to Socialise & Make Friends 

Poison City Records 


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For three years Camp Cope has been crafting a brand of defiant and impassioned punk, balancing intersections between the poetic, the personal and the political. Their sound is as assertive as it is contemplative and as instantly recognisable as singer Georgia Maq’s ability to craft unflinchingly honest and vivid lyrics. Their sophomore album, How To Socialise & Make Friends is part intimate catharsis, part call to arms.

Nothing short of anthemic, ‘The Opener’ kicks off with a rolling hook courtesy of bass player Kelly Hellmrich. The song holds no bars in calling out hypocrisy, toxic masculinity and the misogyny that remains so entrenched in the Australian music scene. A galvanising start to the record, Maq’s battle cry “Well see how far we’ve come not listening to you” is as empowering as it is a warning for the reckoning that is sure to come. The album’s title track explores the emotional labour expected of women in personal relationships, coming around strong and steady thanks to drummer Sarah Thompson’s rhythmic lead.

Paring things back, the confronting ‘Face Of God’ follows. At points, it’s difficult to listen to for how familiar the song feels as it settles into a recount of sexual assault. The nature of silencing, blaming and dismissing survivors it goes on to explore is heartbreaking. The detail of excuses made for perpetrators is enraging for how predictable the script has become: “You don't seem like that kind of guy / Not you, you've got that one song that I like”.

‘The Omen' and ‘UFO Lighter’ are a contemplative pair, both poignant and evocative despite the softness of the former and the urgency of the latter. They bookend ‘Animal & Real’, on which you can hear Maq’s voice catch at the final line. ‘I’ve Got You’ features a sole acoustic guitar as Maq reflects upon her relationship with her parents, childhood experiences of physical trauma and the cruelty of cancer. The stripped back honesty is signature and it’s what makes this final note another challenging one to bear. It’s also what makes the album one that remains long after listening.

On an album that will shape things to come, Camp Cope allow little room for excuses – be it for their own wit and emotion or for being on the receiving end of something untoward. Important and beautifully crafted, How To Socialise & Make Friends is a soundtrack for what are (hopefully) shifting times.