Melbourne trio Camp Cope are steadfast in their approach, using their spare, tuneful indie rock to share the intimacies of their own personal struggles in life, love, the music industry, and society at large. Taking an outspoken feminist stance well before the #MeToo movement captured worldwide attention, singer/guitarist Georgia "Maq" McDonald, bassist Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich, and drummer Sarah Thompson debuted in 2016, introducing fans to a style that was confrontational, confessional, and deeply engaging. Two years and countless gigs later, Camp Cope return with How to Socialise & Make Friends, an evolved yet logical sequel that arrives into a world whose antenna are perhaps more sensitized to some the concepts broached within. Amid their explorations of heartache and everyday human emotions are themes of sexism, inequality, and the obstacles that regrettably still impede the career path of an all-female rock group in 2018. As with their debut, the production is unfussy, bordering on lo-fi, and focused on the live unfiltered elements of the three musicians playing in a room together. McDonald's songwriting is melodic and bittersweet, more often than not tumbling into catharsis and wounded outrage midway through. There's an intense magnetism to her vocals as she wields her emotional sword, channeling vulnerability and danger into something unpredictable and uncomfortably human, especially on standouts like "The Opener," "Anna," and "Sagan-Indiana." In sharing rather than preaching their experiences, Camp Cope offer something personally therapeutic that also challenges listeners.
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AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger