ALBUM: Camp Cope – ‘How To Socialise & Make Friends’

A deeply personal record channeling frustration, disappointment & fear into a creative, cathartic force for change, Aussie rockers Camp Cope have released their highly anticipated second album How To Socialise & Make Friends via Run For Cover.

The album was recorded over two days at Holes and Corners in South Melbourne with Sam Johnson in October 2017 and has been met with as much excitement and acclaim as their self-titled debut, which was shortlisted for the Australian Music Prize. They sold out two shows at Sydney Opera House, headlined Melbourne’s Weekender Fest 2017 and toured the US for the first time in  2017 with Worriers. Now, they’re back with How To Socialise & Make Friendss, nine tracks that prove Georgia Maq (vocals/guitar), Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich’s (bass) and Sarah Thompson’s (drums) songwriting has been strengthened through experience and sounds as fresh, observant and witty as ever.

‘The Opener’ is a sarcastic, spot-on aural record of the pervasive misogyny female bands encounter in the music industry. “It’s another man telling us to book a smaller venue,” sings Georgia – daring her antagonist with the line “Tell me again how there just aren’t that many girls in the music scene” – before her aggressive Aussie intonation shows man-splainers exactly where they can take their opinions.

It breezes into the eponymous ‘How To Socialise & Make Friends’, which ruminates on personal lessons, unnecessary apologies and making more room for yourself, with Georgia’a image of riding a bike whilst “waving goodbye” resonating throughout. ‘The Face Of God’ is a raw account of sexual assault and the shame and isolation that follows such a traumatic experience. Lyrics like “I had to say ‘no’ and ‘stop’ more than once” and “I slept in the middle of the bed / in the comfort of my own choices” ring out with a simultaneous sadness and strength. The band have turned a sharp and unfair lesson into a brave, independent statement here.

Following track ‘Anna’ is a tune about sisterhood and female friendship and an excuse to “get it all out, put it in a song”, whilst ‘Sagan-Indiana’ is an ode to the peace you find in your interactions with kind strangers. ‘The Omen’ is a mature vow not to hurt the people we need the most, with the reflective and guilty line “we’ve all made our Mother cry,” whilst ‘Animal & Real’ is another tune about much needed self-acceptance.

The retrospective ‘UFO Lighter’ is apologetic – “I said I was sorry about that line / I only wrote it ‘cos it rhymed,” but defiant, “he expected that I was gonna fail and run back / well, fuck that” and precedes the emotional, stripped back album closer, ‘I’ve Got You’. Georgia sings of her late father’s battle with cancer here and how their separation has ultimately strengthened the bond between them.

Listening to Camp Cope’s How To Socialise & Make Friends is a rewarding, entertaining experience that’ll have you manically fluctuating between laughter, rage, grief and joy. It’s a record that feels entirely authentic and most importantly, one that shows all girls that you can break free from whatever, or whoever is holding you back.

How To Socialise & Make Friends here. Follow Camp Cope on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington