Wife-husband duo Elizabeth Sankey and Jeremy Warmsley have had an extremely busy past two years as Summer Camp. They released their sophomore, self-titled album in 2013 and quickly followed that up by scoring the soundtrack for Beyond Clueless, a film that looked into the anatomy of the teen movie, specifically those of the ’80s (who can forget Sixteen Candles, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and many others). It isn’t was a coincidence or happenstance that the band was asked to compose the music for the movie, as the two unabashedly proclaim their love for ’80s pop culture.
This fandom of those bygone days is also reflected in Sankey and Warmsley’s latest album, Bad Love. But to call it strictly a nostalgic album would be completely unfair. Yes, there’s plenty of synth and some of the lyrics are retrospective much like the music of the ’80s, but there’s a modernity to the music. “If You Hate Me”, for example, has a driving, lush sound that builds on today’s dream-pop. “Run Away” leans towards today’s electro-pop, trending toward melodic tones to create an emotive environment. The song also demonstrates the further growth of Sankey as a songwriter, who in less than 2.5 minutes has more to say about growing up and facing one’s challenges than many artists have to say in an entire album.
Two singles, meanwhile, resonate with the infectious sounds of two great Canadian bands, who also have take a contemporary approach to the ’80s and ’90s. “You’re Gone” has the familiarity of The New Pornographers with Warmsley playing the role of Dan Bejar on this reflective song that tinges with distorted guitars. The fantastic and gorgeous “Drive Past My House” is Broken Social Scene-esque, as the pace set by Sankey and Warmsley beautifully leads in to the atmospheric finish.
There are songs that seem to be from the ’80s and ’90s. “Angela” has the warmth of and reflective qualities of Sixpence None the Richer; the opening and infectious lead single “Bad Love” could be a synth-pop track on the soundtrack of one of John Hughes’ movies with its theme of love and broken hearts; and “Sleepwalking” is a bubbly, pop tune, echoing of Belinda Carlisle. It is on these three songs where the couple’s love affair with the culture of three decades ago shines through.
But as a whole, Bad Loveis a celebration of music past and present. It demonstrates that you can take something familiar and make it into something new and even refreshing, creating music for a new generation of music lovers and a generation whose anthems extend back over 30 years.
Bad Love officially comes out tomorrow (Tuesday, May 26) on Moshi Moshi Records. Get the album at the label’s store, iTunes (UK/US/CAN), and Amazon (UK/US/CAN). You can also listen to it in its entirety on SoundCloud.
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