By Martha Kowalski
My favorite music typically comes out of nowhere then gradually becomes the song I sing everywhere. This was the case when I first heard a song called “See Through” by a band called CAMINO. Over the next few days, after this song had become routinely stuck in my brain, I decided to check out some of the group’s other songs. Try Hard quickly started filling my speakers – “Daphne Blue” blaring at max volume and “Hush, Hush” whispering in the background as I read a novel of the same title. By this time, The Band CAMINO had established itself as the standard by which I measure a good song, and they continue to raise my expectations with this self-titled album: The Band CAMINO.
I’ve heard it mentioned that this album is a new, different sound for the band; personally, I don’t hear it. To me, it just sounds like their next album. If I had to point out some differences between the band’s earlier music and this album, I suppose I would have to say the addition of more keyboard transitions or runs, but I wouldn’t say that’s enough to make it a “new sound.” I get a lot of hints of Try Hard in this album, and I still can clearly discern the band’s classic indie-rock genre throughout every song, so for me, this is signature The Band CAMINO as usual and perhaps even more so. The staple guitars and drums are there, the loud vocals are there, the abrupt and dramatic pauses that add an extra punch between verses or the chorus are there – nothing more I can ask for.
Let me get into some of my favorite songs on this album. Competing for the number one spot that I can’t decide on yet are “Know It All” and “Song About You.” I love “Know It All” – it’s classic The Band CAMINO, reminiscent of “Daphne Blue,” with loose but well-controlled verses and an explosive chorus, the kind where you dance a bit on every downbeat while aggressively lip-syncing. It’s strong and steady, and I especially love the lyrics, “Like why you love the color yellow but you hate the song.” Lyrics are also the reason why “Song About You” is right up there for the top spot too – a song about writing a song about an ex with a clever play on numbers. Again, softer verses, harder chorus is the classic The Band CAMINO pattern.
Some other honorable mentions on this self-titled album are “Who Do You Think You Are,” “I think I Like You” and “Damage.” The rhythm and melody in the chorus of “Who Do You Think You Are” I’ve heard several times already in songs like “What Am I” by Why Don’t We and “Impossible” by James Arthur, so it seems to be making appearances in a number of songs, and for good reason. It’s very reliable, cradling but hitting a bit of a nerve that resonates with you that is especially effective with songs that have powerful emotions like these; the music perfectly complements the lyrics and creates a very successful song. Vocally, the scales running down in the line “So far away from everything you thought you’d be at 17” are so effortless and fluid too. “I Think I Like You” is whimsical and cute, with an adorable awkwardness already implied in the title, while “Damage” is a beautiful song with a lovely message, about not regretting anything about a relationship even though it ended in heartbreak, and if you were to do it all over again, you would still do it all over again even if it hurts you in the end. It’s one of the more sentimental and emotional songs on the album, like “Sorry Mom” and “Help Me Get Over You.” These songs deviate from the band’s rock-infused tracks like “One Last Cigarette” and take the edge away, getting into softer, more vulnerable and heartfelt dimensions.
If I were asked what goes into my favorite music, I could describe in perfect detail what I would expect out of such a song: bold, dynamic and powerful guitars and drums, a firework chorus and sudden, fitting drops and pauses. Without knowing it, I’d described the key elements of The Band CAMINO, so this band is quite literally the definition of my favorite music. I am convinced that The Band CAMINO cannot write a bad song, and this album is just further proof of that.