Notting Hill Arts Club, London Saturday, March 13
No offence to Yuck, but the line-up’s all wrong. [a]Summer Camp[/a] are on second billing, while the scruffy young London quintet lead. It’s an afternoon of London lo-fi, but in two entirely different ways. Contrasting with Summer Camp’s teenage swoon, [a]Yuck[/a] sound grungy and late ’90s, not unlike [a]Pavement[/a] playing in the flat below. A kind of [a]Dinosaur Jr[/a] Junior dinosaur egg, or something…
Even though they boast former members of [a]Cajun Dance Party[/a], they don’t trade solely in nostalgia. Single [b]‘Georgia’[/b] goes down a treat. Despite harking back to when plaid was hip, there’s a freshness to their sound – if you can decipher it beneath the feedback and fuzz.
Anyway, back to Summer Camp. This is not quite their first gig – there was a properly secret show in Notting Hill a week ago, and an acoustic session not long after that – so we’ll call this gig number two-and-a-half. Sometime NME scribe and angelic cooer Elizabeth Sankey and former electro-folk troubadour Jeremy Warmsley augment their duo with three back-ups on drums, keys and bass, and launch straight into [b]‘Was It Worth It’[/b]. More jaunty than on record, it’s an early ’70s Eurovision groove that clocks in at under three minutes. Blending lo-fi with sugary sweet pop, the eponymous [b]‘Summer Camp’[/b] is Lomography in sound, a retro-tinged, sweetly sepia snapshot of sun-soaked love. Though the songs are warm and fuzzy, they’re not exactly thematically diverse. Boys/girls/summer/fun/sun seems to be the recurring thought progression, and new song [b]‘It’s Summer’[/b] follows the same pattern. Samples from ’80s teen flicks add bite, as [b]‘I Only Have Eyes For You’[/b] opens with Heather Chandler’s infamous rant from Winona Ryder classic [i]Heathers[/i] before slyly segueing into a doped-up lovesong.
For a band on their second (and a half) gig, it doesn’t show. Sankey and Warmsley share vocals easily, while their drummer drops some “doo-wops”. Finishing on forthcoming single [b]‘Ghost Train’[/b], Sankey attempts a plug: “Actually, I’m not even going to bother.” She’s right not to. If they’re this jaw-droppingly, miss-your-mouth-while-eating good after only 2.5 shows, there’s no need to chase fans. They’ll come of their own accord.