Camp Cope’s music is something that can feel intrinsically transgressive. The Australian trio’s songs are often intimate, with a raw emotional energy that makes the listener feel like they’re stumbling upon a private moment. Take the heart-wrenching “Stove Lighter” from their 2016 self-titled debut, for example. Georgia Maq’s confessional lyrics recount sneaking her lover into her mother’s house, where they would “only ever made out / And listen to Tigers Jaw and UV Race.” It’s a scene that feels illicit, like we’ve stumbled upon something we shouldn’t be witnessing.
But it’s not just the intimacy of their music that sets Camp Cope apart. Their lyrics are unflinchingly honest, tackling tough subjects head-on. On their 2018 album “How To Socialise & Make Friends,” tracks like “The Opener” and the title track call out sexism in the music scene. “It’s another man telling us we can’t fill up the room,” Maq sings on “The Opener.” “It’s another man telling us to book a smaller venue.” These meta moments are jarring, a brazen breaking down of the fourth wall that feels almost confrontational in its directness.
But it’s in the quieter moments that Camp Cope’s true power shines through. “I’ve Got You,” a therapeutic ballad from their debut album, encapsulates the band’s ability to approach rough issues with nuance and empathy. “There’s still some things I don’t understand / Like the casual blindness toward the cruelty of man,” Maq sings, her voice awash with feeling. It’s a sentiment that feels both timeless and urgent, a reminder that there is still work to be done in the fight for social justice.
It’s a shame, then, that Camp Cope recently announced their disbandment. But their impact will live on. As Freya Langley wrote for The Conversation, the band has been a trailblazer for gender equality in the Australian music scene, spearheading the #ItTakesOne campaign for safety and representation for women at festivals. Their very existence was empowering, inspiring cathartic singalongs about sexism and injustice. And while we may never get another album from Camp Cope, their anthems will live on, a testament to the power of raw, honest music.