CAMP FIRES - Camp Fires

Camp Fires - Camp Fires

5 songs
22:23 minutes
***** ***


Itís interesting to get to listen to a truly new band. As of writing this review, the American three-piece has only seventy likes on Facebook, and their group page hardly offers any information as to label (so I guess it must be self-released), origin (I guess the USA) and the instruments the different musicians play. What I know is that one member of the trio is Craig M Clarke, who is also a member of The New Slave which one time remixed an album by Jacob Faurholtís Crystal Shipsss, and whose solo album from 2012 was met here very favourably.

Unlike the artistís more electronic stuff from the past, Camp Fires can be considered some kind of indie band, although that would be too reducing for the bandís overall sound. The opener In My Backyard for instance starts with a hypnotic percussive beat and is soon joined by a jangly acoustic guitar and possibly even a banjo in the background. The vocals are subdued, hushed but very melodic. The song builds steadily momentum over its four and a half minutes, with some electric guitar adding some drama and punch, giving you eventually the impression of a band marrying lo-fi Americana with indie pop sensibilities. It should also be noted that the bass guitar is moving all over the place, delivering some really fun rhythmic backbone. For Olde E, the band made a video clip. This song feels even quieter, has a nice lead guitar part early on but also puts a lot of emphasis on the synthesizers. The vocals come across in an even more melancholy way, making this a very enjoyable indie ballad that finds the right balance between guitars and electronics.

From here on, things become less pop, especially with Woman where the guitar seems to be absent. The drums are definitely programmed, with arpeggioed synthesizers and the bass guitars creating quite a wavy lo-fi setting for the once again quite sad vocals. The following The Lonely Road starts in a similar vein, but later on adds an acoustic guitar that brings the warmth back to the music. The song ends on the recurring ghostly chorus "I found love on the lonely road", with a piano adding some gentle notes. Beyond The Dirt concludes the five track EP in the melancholic indie electro sound we have come to know from the previous tracks, leaving us with the impression of a really promising new band.

Right now itís still hard to know where Camp Fires will go from here. Their debut EP shows a band that is no stranger to indie, electro, pop, new wave and Americana, and who know how to combine these different genres into their very own sound. At times it feels quite minimalist, but I am certain that the three musicians have intended it that way. The EP can be downloaded on the bandís Bandcamp page for a pay-what-you-like price, but frankly it would only be fair if you left them a few dollars or euros for their effort. Itís be nice to be hearing more from Camp Fires in the not too distant future.

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