Let me get one thing out of the way: Camp Cope are not fucking around. The moment singer/guitarist Georgia “Maq” McDonald lets loose the first lyrics of the How to Socialise and Make Friends, all bets are off that this is going to be an easy listen. Don’t get me wrong, the instrumentation on the album bears more than a passing resemblance to the relatively placid Galaxie 500, but Maq has a lot of shit to say and damnit, we owe it to ourselves to listen.
Dismantling the patriarchy is a full time job and Camp Cope need overtime pay for the amount of emotional labor put into this album. Laying her (and many other women’s, for that matter) frustrations bare about the overabundance of machismo in the music industry in the aptly titled song, “The Opener”, Maq lets out full-throated screams about the misogyny that is all too common in the music industry:
It’s another man telling us we can’t fill up the room
It’s another man telling us to book a smaller venue
‘Nah, hey, cmon girls we’re only thinking about you’
Well, see how far we’ve come not listening to you
“Yeah, just get a female opener, that’ll fill the quota.”
And that’s just in the first song.
On an aesthetic level “The Opener” is a perfect crystallization of Camp Cope’s sound on How to Socialize. In a very punk move, the arrangement never strays from the bare bones guitar-bass-drums set-up because it never needs to. Maq’s voice and lyrics are the stars of the show here and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Her voice never falters even at the albums most tender moments, like the devastating, haunting acoustic closer “I’ve Got You”. The autobiographical tale of a relative’s or friend’s slow descent into death and her attempts to figure out hers and their place amid the cruel realities of the world is only made even more heartbreaking by her acknowledgement how much they’re a part of each other.
The sheer breadth and depth of the emotion conveyed on this record is astounding, reaching an intensity that I haven’t really felt since Blonde dropped. Yes, this might be devolving into gushing but if the rush of emotion I felt after I listened to this for the first time is any indication I’ll be listening to this album A LOT. I hope you will as well.