Camp Howard releases nine-song masterpiece Cañon
It’s a Sunday afternoon and the idea of listening to yet another rock band feels a bit tiresome – like it might be the same-sounding stuff that I’ve gotten so used to. That’s what I thought. It took the Virginia rockers Camp Howard to sway that jaded feeling. Wow. The nine-song masterpiece Cañon (Egghunt Records) is a knockout example of a band that does what it does best and does it better than anyone else. Combining English and Spanish and bundles of memorable guitar shreds and fantastic percussion, Cañon is a blast.
Camp Howard is Nic Perea, Wes Parker, Matt Benson and Brian Larson. Perea is at the helm, and the group first got together at Virginia Commonwealth University. Now based in Richmond, this four-piece is a tight, power-driven ship that has taken the street credit of a garage bank, polished some of the punk and bursts out hit after hit on Cañon. All gushing aside, lyrically, there are truthfully some words I’m not understanding but it doesn’t matter. The euphoric feelings and wall of sound drowning the listener take after take make this album an immediate must-have. From start to finish, Camp Howard creates an arc, their own mark on storytelling and take the listener to unique and diverse stops, only to wrap up the story by the last track (“Swimming At Night”). Not to be confused with a concept album, at its core Cañon never fails to bore.
To give an idea of the fun that ensues, look to the titles like “Don’t Say Shit You Don’t Mean” and track six (“Bubba Two Shoes”) are all cohesive rock songs. Not light rock. Not hard rock. Rock and roll, through and through. Listening to a few earlier tracks from Camp Howard’s 2017 release Juice, it’s evident that this band has always had the ‘it’ factor. This is a band that has taken all that it has learned from the live-music trenches and successfully elevated that sound in the studio. These songs are deliciously addictive and they get you grooving. It’s that good and they seem to keep earning badges along the way to present an eccentric, optimistic solid musical catalog.
Songs like “Surprise” offer a genuine approach and call to mind unique Perea’s wordsmith arsenal: “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.” Still, it’s the musicality of “Surprise”, “Low Calibre” and “Light on the Moon” that take Camp Howard to higher ground. There’s little turns and corners that these musicians take the listener to that can’t fall into one particular genre. Like the groove in the title track, a powerful bass line meshed with Perea’s vocals crushes. And, the smoothness and feeling of completion in “Swimming At Night,” this band successfully envelopes modern sounds. Rock. Pop rock. World. Punk. It has it all melted into one. This isn’t a singles band. This is an album band. That’s exciting and that is what makes listening all the worthwhile.