Album Review: Campdogzz – “In Rounds”
Posted: by The Editor
When a band finds a style that works for them and is popular with their fans, I imagine it’s tempting for them to settle into it instead of experimenting. I appreciate that Campdogzz didn’t do so and instead, curated the album In Rounds with an array of sounds.
I discovered Campdogzz in 2016 when one of their tracks, “The Well,” was featured in an episode of the Netflix original series Easy. Lead vocalist Jess Price has a voice so strong and soulful, it’s commanding.
The band seemed to rely on Price’s talent to hold themselves above water, but on their latest album, In Rounds, Campdogzz masterfully intertwined Price’s signature voice with more complex production, creating songs with substantiality.
In Rounds is punctuated by a series of interludes, including “Bobbing on the Plains” Parts One, Two and Three. An interlude should serve a purpose and add to the experience, rather than making the listener roll their eyes as they skip it. Campdogzz effectively uses interludes as palate cleansers, with the ambiance evolving after each one.
Two tracks are nestled between “Bobbing on the Plains” Part One and Two – “Souvenir” and “Run Wild.” “Souvenir” is slightly brash, with Price snarling “Souvenir / Come right here / I’ll be yours a little bit.” “Run Wild” is sleek and features ambient instrumentals.
In Rounds shifts to a more grandiose mood after the second interlude, with the instrumentals stepping further into the spotlight. “Batshit” encompasses a more classical sound that incorporates string instrumentals. There is something eerie about the juxtaposition of such magnificent production and the lyrics “Running like batshit / if you fall, you’re on your own.” But Price’s voice is so compelling, I’d probably listen to anything she says.
The album’s closing set of songs following the third interlude take on a softer, more slower paced feel, complimented by acoustic guitar. The first half of “Royal Rue” is Price hitting high notes as someone plays the same chord on guitar repetitively. When I listened to the track a second time – I found myself appreciating the simplicity. “Southern,” a dreamy track that echoes nostalgia, centers on Price’s upbringing in the southern United States. In a statement on 15 Passenger’s website (Campdogzz’s record label), guitarist and vocalist Mike Russell said the track “is a depiction of what it’s like to love the place you’re from while being at odds with the dark sides of its culture.”
Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal
Bineet Kaur | @hellobineet
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