Crisp guitars. Lyrics both in English and in Spanish. A wall of sound. Richmond alternative rockers, Camp Howard cultivate a strong bond of rock, pop and catchy hooks in the fun track “Surprise.” The Virginian four-piece band jumps right out of the gate with an engaging, high-energy track. Proving they have the chops to command immediate attention, Camp Howard sets the bar high. “Surprise” is the first single from Camp Howard’s upcoming album, Cañon, due October 11th.
As aforementioned, “Surprise” possesses both English and Spanish lyrics. While this writer cannot claim to decipher and interpret the Spanish words, songwriters Nic Perea (who according to the band’s bio is Mexican) and Wes Parker have consistently used this method in their songbook. Joining Perea and Parker in the group are Matt Benson and Brian Larson. “Surprise” has a solid jaunt vibe to it; the song feels very much like a pick-me-up and bob your-head with the sound. It’s also very indie (the band is signed to Egghunt Records) and feels fresh and unique. The lyrics “All I wanted was to be with you alone / but that’s easier said than done / only one of us is running the game / don’t you feel like it’s no longer the same” leave the listener with just enough room to jump into a world of their own devising.
It’s the moments between the chords that feel remarkable – the instances between the guitar riffs in an almost sweeping way, drive the listener to a space of just gulping for the next guitar string to be struck by the pick. Bam. It’s not a clunk. It’s a chunky wisp of a sound. The backing percussion is solid. The vocals are charming and wiry. On the service there is a straight-forward approach, but as more listens pull back the onion of layers, the vocals (and the overall orchestration) is a multi-faceted vulnerability. Wishing for an all-out head banger, this song is not, but it still manages to keep time as a solid alt rocker. Metal – no. This song elicits such a rock vibe that it’s hard to place it in the new metal genre. Camp Howard feels more punk than metal.
Comparable to no one, there is a slight instinct to group Camp Howard into the same realm as Passion Pit, Tilly And the Wall, Icky Blossoms, Vampire Weekend and Haim. Listeners that enjoy these contemporary artists might find “Surprise” a jam that they can bite into. It’s a smooth, upbeat rock tune with lots of flavor and subtle emotion. Interestingly the band has secured a support spot with Stone Temple Pilots – an interesting lineup. “Surprise” is a solid rock tune and should have instant rapport give long-time STP fans based on the rock riffs and musicality. This song would be an interesting venture to see live – the production value is so tight and again, there’s that word ‘crisp’ that it would be a real trip to see it performed live. So it goes – will have to catch them on tour.
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