By: Hope Ankney
Rebecca West was once quoted saying, “People call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that distinguish me from a doormat.” This seems to be the thunderous anthem of the all-female, three-piece group Camp Cope. The Melbourne natives encapsulate feminism in its rawest form- holding the label as a badge of pride in a time where it is needed most. Their second album, How to Socialize & Make Friends, explores the message further in a politically and emotionally charged rollercoaster of nine tracks.
Continuing from their debut record, Camp Cope’s storytelling has only strengthened and stunned as one wades through the second album- highlighting lead-singer Georgia McDonald’s piercing vocals that tend to bend themselves according to the feature of the song. There’s an intensity in her voice, almost enough to picture her wearing an armor full of emotions as she steps into battle. She equips her songwriting as weapons staring down the face of female adversity. Her band mates can be heard standing, strongly beside her as they mimic the tension and frustration that surges through McDonald’s lyrics. Drummer, Thomo, sounds effortless all over the record yet still makes sure that each beat is as expressive as the last whereas bassist, Kelly, plays with such finesse and richness that she could be considered the front-man of the group on her performance alone.
How to Socialize & Make Friends takes no prisoners as its first track “Opener” dives into the misogyny Camp Cope has faced by male figures in the music industry. While it might not be a revelation that females are treated unevenly in a scene known for discrimination, there is something about listening to a group outline their personal experiences regarding it that gives a unique impact. With pointed lyrics like, “it’s another whole male tour preaching equality / it’s another straight cis man who knows more about this than me,” McDonald’s voice growls and grits to match the outspoken nature of the song. The specialty of this track is the trio’s ability to sound as though they are standing up for all women in the scene, not just themselves, making it a hell of a statement.
Another essential to the record is the deeply lyrical, “The Face of God” which describes the unfortunate sexual abuse that Georgia endured from a man in the music scene. A vital listen amidst the sexual assault claims that have grown throughout the industry. It’s a brave and gorgeously battered song detailing the justifications others give these musicians because “they don’t seem like the type” and “their music is too good” to act against. Camp Cope does their best to cause a tornado during the track, hoping to carve the message into the audience’s brain.
Regardless, not all the songs are politically charged. There are a variety of themes touched upon as one immerses themselves in the project. It features harmony, strength-building, regret, and loss. This can be spotted in the heartfelt goodbye to a father on “I’ve Got You” and the self-criticism that oozes from “UFO Lighter” further proving the versatility of Camp Cope’s talent.
For a group to produce a record that pushes such intimate topics, they deserve nothing less than an outpour of recognition. Through honesty, ferocity, and an unapologetic approach, the women of Camp Cope made sure to wield clear call-outs and fury at personal and general adversity beyond expectation. How to Socialize & Make Friends is a sensational listen for anyone but especially women. If it could speak, it’d confidently say, “I know, I know, I’m standing up for myself. I’m such a bitch,” and for Camp Cope, being a bitch shouldn’t be shamed but embraced.