I love these punk rock records that aren’t afraid to dip into indie rock and emo. I know it’s been done a million times before, but I don’t give a shit. I’m a total sucker for bands that are as earnest as they are urgent. Camp Life nail that formula on An Ever-Growing Vision.
The lazy explanation is that Camp Life feel like the middle of a Venn diagram where Joyce Manor, Glocca Morra, and Dear Landlord are the established sets. An Ever-Growing Vision is just a great punk rock record from start to finish. It’s gruff and driving, but with a melodic flair. There are little bits of that old emo twinkle, albeit distorted. The lyrics definitely fit those genre norms as well. A bit of anger, a lot of apathy, and a general sense of melancholy.
I don’t know. An Ever-Growing Vision just works, and Camp Life have made a really solid debut. The whole thing clocks in at just under eleven minutes, and it is well worth the time.
I was reading up on this band before going into this review. I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news. We may never escape the “twinkle daddies” joke. That phrase has officially become part of the vernacular. It’s true, it’s true. And Sup, Muscles? is definitely that kind of band. They are definitely getting good mileage out of the mathy/twinkly guitars. They took the gimmick and ran with it. They are, luckily, very good at it. It works.
More Feelings is a record that is really in the same lineage as bands like Cap’n Jazz and Algernon Cadwallader. The song structures are very loose. There is almost a disjointed feeling to some of them. Think an emo US Maple. It really shouldn’t work, but Sup, Muscles? makes it work.
My favorite part of this EP has to be the dual vocals of Molly Spear and Jacob Campbell. Their interplay adds a great cohesion to the record. It’s a cohesion that is really needed. Things are all over the place musically, so it’s good to have a structure. This works especially well on songs like “I’m Resilient” and “Something About Ghost.”
This is a record that may not be for everyone though. It’s a good record, and the band is very skilled. It does suffer from the disjointed sound and lack of focus. I don’t know, give it a shot though.
Seizure Man Records
Open Door Records
I’ve been sitting on this record for a few months now. I’ve been trying to review it, but haven’t really found any words for it. While looking towards other reviews, I noticed something. “Honest” was used a lot. Honesty is a strange buzzword for music review purposes. How can a third party reviewer judge honesty? We can judge perceived sincerity, which this record has a lot of. But, in the end, we’re trying to read our own experiences in songs written by other people. Fuck, anyway.
Sinai Vessel are a highly competent and skilled band. They’re generally a mid-tempo indie rock band, but with some punk rock edge thrown in. Stylistically, they make me think of bands on Saddle Creek or Jade Tree, or maybe reminiscent of things David Bazan has done. Like Tim Kasher/Cursive playing with Pedro The Lion. But maybe a little Saves The Day in there as well? This isn’t to say it’s derivative or anything. It is engaging and well made. But, the excellent music aside, the outstanding lyrics are the star of the show.
There is an almost literary feel to the lyrics. As the band describes it, it is a “small collection of songs about disillusionment, understanding, confusion, leaving home, and growing up”. Each song has it’s own feel and story. “Cats,” for example, takes on the topic of a small town church (and the small town secrets that go along with it). “Index On The Oval” seems to be about finding meaning and how you need to continually strive for it. It can get a little esoteric, but that’s not a bad thing.
To kind of wrap things up, if “honesty” as a music talking point means individual reading of emotion and sincerity, then this is an honest record. It’s engaging lyrically, and comfortable musically. Sinai Vessel has enough raw talent to try anything they want. And they’ll be successful at it too, just so long as they keep the heart in the songs.
Buy It (Ozona)