Album Of The Week: Camp Cope – Running With The Hurricane

Our pick of this week's new releases finds the acclaimed Aussie trio in a calmer, more satisfied place and all the better for it

Camp Cope come into Running With The Hurricane on a two album hot streak. The Melbourne trio caused ripples with their self-titled 2016 debut, ripples that only increased to bigger disruptions in a bigger pond with 2018’s vitriol-fuelled How To Socialise And Make Friends. A four-year gap after two steps in the right direction could have been catastrophic, but with most of the world on hold – and few places more so than their native Australia – Camp Cope appear to have used the time wisely, returning with an album that sounds like a band that’s figured a few things out.

Camp Cope - 'Running with the Hurricane' (live for Like A Version)

For starters, singer, songwriter and guitarist Georgia Maq has harnessed her impressive voice, releasing the howl judiciously but also pulling back to a more tuneful croon that still allows the Australian inflections to shine through. When the howl is unleashed, it feels controlled, like strategic strikes rather than the wild shrieks of four years ago.

The loud-quiet-loud dynamics of the first two albums have also given way to a prevailing calm. Under Maq’s guidance – and with as killer a rhythm section as Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich and Sarah Thompson – Camp Cope are never going to sound like Jewel or Sarah McLachlan but the oft-quoted 90s alt rock touchpoints feel a lot less Hole and more impassioned folk rock. You could almost imagine a riled-up Lisa Loeb singing the superbly heartbroken ballad ‘Blue’.

It’s not just aurally that Running With The Hurricane suggests a band more at peace with itself. Where How To Socialise And Make Friends was justifiably furious, skewering the music industry brilliantly on ‘The Opener’, here Maq seems to have found at least a few answers. She might not be exactly where she needs to be but on the frankly superb title track, she’s figured out where she is and what she needs, singing: “The only way out is up”. Even on ‘Blue’, she shrugs “You do you,” letting the errant lover go with resigned acceptance rather than any desperate pleas. On the stunning closer ‘Sing Your Heart Out’, she’s almost delivering pep talks: “You’re not your past, not your mistakes… you can change and so can I”.

Camp Cope cover Sam Fender 'Seventeen Going Under' for Like A Version

That afore-mentioned title track bears some talking about. It’s everything that was great about Camp Cope and everything that’s even better about them now wrapped up in one brilliant song. It’s not hyperbole to suggest it’s Camp Cope’s best. Much kudos is due to Hellmrich, whose melodic basslines fill in the ample space left by the judiciously sparse production from Anna Laverty (Courtney Barnett).

Most of us spent lockdown learning to bake, home-schooling our kids or half-learning Spanish. Camp Cope learned how to become the best band they could be for themselves. In the process, they’ve made one of the most exciting albums of the year and one song that is going to absolutely slay live. Figuring things out has never sounded so good.

Get Running With The Hurricane by Camp Cope from Run For Cover, and find tickets for gigs and tours on sale now here.