British indie-pop duo Summer Camp has a reputation for being nostalgic. After basing their full length Welcome to Condale off of John Hughes films and ’80s tunes, it comes as no surprise that their newest EP, Always is reminiscent of a time when neon pants and synthesizers ruled the world.
Always starts off strongly with the misleadingly somber intro to “Life.” Over the sounds of a piano, vocalist Elizabeth Sankey gently croons about love, which is a common theme throughout the band’s work. “My bloody hands reach only for you/My dark soul longs only for you/My icy breath whispers your name/My cold skin wants to touch you again,” she sings in a tone so dark it’s chilling. The track soon kicks into full force, moving into more cheerful territory.
The title track, “Always” follows suit, boasting dance beats and a dueling vocal track. With the synths throbbing and the drums thumping, Sankey and her bandmate and life partner, Jeremy Warmsley pass vocal duties back and forth before coming together for a harmonious finish to the chorus and verses. “Hunt” also plays on the romantic themes, but this time in the form of being hurt. The two songs are easily the EP’s highlights with their hip-shaking choruses and stellar vocals.
The EP’s only weakness comes in the form of “City.” While it features an impressive vocal performance and a funktastic beat, the heavy hip-hop influence seems almost out of place on an album filled with dancehall hits. The rap breakdown from Hal Williams of Odd Future-affiliated production duo the Jet Age of Tomorrow, though well versed and well executed, just doesn’t exactly fit.
“Outside” takes the ’80s play to a whole new level, incorporating cheesy yet lovable lyrics and somewhat dissonant instrumentals. The song seems as if it came straight out of the credits for a dated romantic comedy, proving that if there’s one thing Summer Camp is good at it’s staying true to their throwback title.