Album Review: Camp Cope - 'How to Socialise & Make Friends'
Smashing patriarchy with a guitar.
Melbourne rockers, Camp Cope, are back with a vengeance. Following the release of their self-titled debut album in 2016, the trio have toured extensively and vocalist Georgia Maq has also performed solo with Paper Thin’s Spencer Scott.
The group’s second album, ‘How to Socialise & Make Friends’, was released on 2nd March. With nine tracks and clocking in just under the 40-minute mark, this is a record of many different shades. The underlying recurrent theme, however, is misogyny.
In the past year or so, Camp Cope have been pretty vocal when it comes to the inherent sexism in the music business. Bassist Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich wrote an essay on music industry discrimination, while Maq slated Falls Festival for having only nine female musicians on their lineup.
The album starts with ‘The Opener’. The track name in itself is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s the first single so it’s opening the album. On the other, it’s a dig at men in the music industry who think Camp Cope – and female identifying artists in general – can only ‘handle’ support slots. Maq snarls ‘Oh just get a female opener, that will fill the quota’.
Bassist Hellmrich and drummer Sarah Thompson provide the perfect backdrop to Maq’s conversational lyric style.
‘The Face of God’ is a painful song in which Maq recounts the aftermath of a sexual assault. The lyrics refer to victim blaming culture where Maq has been made to feel guilty for saying no. The tempo markedly reduces in this single, highlighting the pain she is feeling.
As the album progresses, the focus shifts to female solidarity with ‘Anna’ and ‘Sagan-Indiana’. Maq’s raw, unpolished vocals make her experience all the more relatable.
The final track of the album is particularly touching. On ‘I’ve Got You’ Maq is performing solo in a song about her late father (Hugh McDonald, former lead singer of Aussie band Redgum). He passed away from cancer last year, but his legacy lives on: ‘I’m so proud that half of me grew from you/ All the broken parts too.’
Maq’s father appears to be the only positive male influence on the album. Camp Cope have made no secret as to who they’re targeting with ‘How to Socialise & Make Friends’. The band has no time for ‘another cis white man who thinks he knows more about this than me’.
This is an album that is impossible to forget. And in a climate like the one we’re living in now, this is so important.