Apricot Recordings / Moshi Moshi – February 14th
It’s in the sweeping, sophisticated grandeur of ‘Woman In Love’, it’s in the tender story-telling of ‘Danny and John’ (the sweetest and saddest country-kissed love song since the Magnetic Field’s peerless ‘Papa Was A Rodeo). It’s in the ruminative, haunting instrumentals that adorn Romantic Comedy. It’s all very clear – if this isn’t exactly Summer Camp all grown-up (because who wants that from your pop bands?), it’s definitely the sound of them more refined, more considered and, ultimately, more rewarding – a band you could see yourself growing old(er) with. In the evolution of Summer Camp it all makes perfect sense. Sure Romantic Comedy starts with a spoken word sample and a gentle, chugging beat that recalls their sainted ‘Ghost Train’ and it’d be easy to think we’re back in treasured Summer Camp territory – where their earliest songs (the impeccable observation of the Young EP, especially) existed in a teen movie-fixated world; all messy parties with those red plastic cups, confusion, desperation, people disappearing into one of a puzzling amount of bedrooms, unrequited love if not exactly getting requited then definitely, y’know, getting a quick fix, all youth skipping past you in a hazy blur. Romantic Comedy, though, is the logical step from pop rushes and speedy crushes to something more tangible, more satisfying – with a few sweet crushes thrown in on the way, of course.
Teen movies can’t offer this tangibility. You might be rooting for these kids in the moment, but their fickle, callous nature – their youth – can’t promise happy-ever-afters. No one believes that Rachel Leigh Cook, 15 years on, is exhaustedly yelling at Freddie Prinze Jr. to “Please, for the love of God, let that fucking hackysack drop,” and, Lord knows, nobody wants to see it. Increase the age bracket though, add some experience, some smarts, some adjusted expectations(?), and it’s not difficult to imagine Hugh waking up one morning and saying for the hundredth time “Really, how did you not notice it was raining?” or Meg and Tom, retired in Florida, laughing off that awkward bit where he, lol, destroyed a treasured dream in the pursuit of ruthless capitalism. So, sure, we all know it’s ridiculous (hear the demands for movie love in “Barefoot In the Park’), sure we know we ain’t getting this stuff (hear the crestfallen acceptance in the absolutely divine ‘It Happened One Night’) but romantic comedies still give us all hope (which runs so deep through the dreamy beauty of ‘You Complete Me’). We’re invested because we believe in them, and we still want to know what happens once the credits roll. We still want more. And so it is with Summer Camp; Romantic Comedy is Elizabeth and Jeremy feeling newly profound, believable and more loveable than ever.
Photo by Katie Cox.