Summer Camp is Jeremy Warmsley and his girlfriend Elizabeth Sankey. That will mean something to some of you, and nothing to a lot of you. Warmsley has been quietly releasing jittery electronic based pop songs for the last few years. Bringing in some feminine wiles into his act seems to be attracting increased attention, and tonight, billed as Summer Camp’s first gig proper, is essentially a launch for this new project. That it coincided with the first beautiful day of Spring sunshine was entirely appropriate.
Tall and bespectacled, Warmsley positions himself to the side of the stage, leaving Sankey to take her place at the centre and, along with three other musicians, they settle into a setlist familiar only to anyone who’s visited their MySpace recently.
It’s difficult to avoid using the word “twee” when describing their amateur-yet-cute sound, but their songs are that bit better than much of what’s associated with the sub-genre. Sankey struggles with some of her vocals, but she’s charming and just about makes it through.
With only seven songs in their repertoire (including an ill-advised soporific cover of I Only Have Eyes For You as an encore), they spend less time on stage than either of their support acts, Babe Shadow and Spectrals; a pity, given that they have a lot more to offer. Pretty much all of their pre-release hype has come off the back of the filmic ride of Ghost Train, but they have a few other good tracks ripe for release. The likes of Was It Worth It? with its infectious call to “better start treating me right” and the lo-fi haziness of their eponymous song are signals of impending greatness.
With the glitzier She & Him busy hula-hooping in the sun this summer, this she and him are like their slightly scuzzy younger cousins. Their songs are evocative attempts to recreate the slacker-but-pure romances they’ve seen in high school films. Live, there doesn’t seem to be any attempt to reintroduce a visual aspect into these stories, something that could add another dimension to their act.
All of which shows that this is their first proper gig. But they’ll gain in strength the more they perform, and if they can build on their already irresistible collection of joyous songs they’ll be setting up camp on our radios, and in our hearts this summer.