REVIEW: Camp Cope - How To Socialise & Make Friends - 4 stars

DRIVEN TO SUCCEED: How To Socialise & Make Friends is brutally honest.

DRIVEN TO SUCCEED: How To Socialise & Make Friends is brutally honest.

EVERY so often a band captures the zeitgeist. Melbourne folk-punk three-piece Camp Cope, is that band in 2018.

Gender equality and the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements are hot topics throughout Hollywood and it’s subsequently flowed into the Australian music scene.

Camp Cope called out sexism in the music industry when they criticised The Falls Festival on their own stage in January for only signing nine female musicians on a bill of 100 artists.

It was a brave move. But Camp Cope are a brave band.

Musically, their second album How To Socialise & Make Friends is more reserved than the band’s critically-acclaimed 2016 self-titled debut.

The instrumentation is sparse. Georgia Maq’s guitar rarely breaks out of its rhythmic stride as drummer Sarah Thompson hammers away.

The only flourishes come from Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich, who is one of Australia’s most inventive bassists.

Camp Cope - The Opener

Where How To Socialise & Make Friends hits like a sledgehammer is in Maq’s lyrics. Whether it’s raging against misogyny (The Opener), tackling sexual assault (The Face Of God) or singing about her late father, Redgum leader Hugh McDonald (I’ve Got You), the album is emotionally wrenching.

When Maq sings “I'm so proud that half of me grew from you/All the broken parts too,” on I’ve Got You her voice almost breaks.

Then the song ends with her telling producer Sam Johnson, “Alright, I’m done” with exhaustion in her voice.

Camp Cope’s sophomore album is a heart-breaking listen, but it’s well worth the emotion.