After their debut self-titled album’s launch in 2021, the indie-alt trio, The Band CAMINO, makes a return with their sophomore full-length release, The Dark. This album focuses on the theme of confronting past demons and handling the emotional challenges that can lead any relationship astray. From self-destructive tendencies to deeply ingrained trust issues, the Nashville-based band navigates these darker aspects of human experience, yet intriguingly manages to find the light amidst the darkness in their latest musical endeavor.
The album comprises 12 tracks, each skillfully penned and produced by the trio of prominent members: Jeffery Jordan, Spencer Stewart and Garrison Burgess. In partnership with their enduring collaborator and producer, Jordan Schmidt, and drawing inspiration from rock luminaries such as Kings of Leon and The Killers, The Band CAMINO adeptly molds their latest album, leveraging their strengths in delivering insane instrumentals and crafting choruses that effortlessly embed themselves in the listener’s memory.
Already teasing the album with a few songs and the latest track “See You Later”, the boys managed to capture a sound reminiscent of their tryhard EP days – the perfect nostalgic feel for those who have been long fans of the band. And as the band navigates through a fresh era of self-discovery and emotional healing, one constant remains clear: The Band CAMINO excels in crafting guitar-driven anthems adorned with pop sensibilities and raw, unadulterated honesty about their personal lives and relationships.
The album kicks off with their standout lead single, “Told You So,” immersing listeners in its robust instrumentals (a special shoutout to Garrison’s prowess on the drums) and the striking vocal performances by Jeffery and Spencer. Garnering an impressive 5.8 million streams on Spotify, there’s no doubt that this track rightfully holds its place as the album’s opening statement. With an infectious chorus and a thematic focus on venting pent-up frustration and anger towards someone who just won’t listen, the song hooks listeners instantly, allowing them to fully embrace the cathartic release and passionately belt out its lyrics.
Track three titled “Save My Life” felt like a sister song of “Break Me” from their tryhard EP and easily became a top favorite. With its lyrics “I can’t turn you down // To save my life// If you’re gonna break a heart // Then come break mine” and “Break Me”’s lyrics of “I hate the way you make me, just// Wish I could make you hate me // I can’t stop though it might break me, still// Can’t help the way you make me feel”, the two felt so intrinsically intertwined that we couldn’t help but make the connection. Spencer and Jeffery devour the chorus in the best way, and the last 20 seconds of elevated harmonies honestly felt like heaven’s ascent.
Other tracks like “Same Page” and “Three Month Hangover” follow the duration and end of a relationship. “Same Page” is full of pop-rock chords and lyrics explaining how although a couple may look perfect on paper, the two are most definitely not on the same page relationship-wise and have no choice but to walk away from each other. Similarly, “Three Month Hangover,” with its pop-punk essence, delves into the post-breakup landscape, conveying the emotional toll of reaching the inevitable end. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Jeffery candidly shared that this song marked his initial attempt to process his personal breakup experience and navigate the closure of that chapter in his life. As the album consistently showcases this level of vulnerability, especially in tracks like these, it’s truly commendable to witness artists create something so deeply personal and candid and establish a genuine connection with their audience.
Amidst the sea of angst-driven tunes centered around heartbreak and self-deprecation, “See You Later” takes a remarkable 180-degree turn, emerging as the unequivocal anthem of love on the album. A Prince-inspired song with funky guitar struts and falsetto vocals, this song felt refreshing to listen to and reminiscent of the love-struck vibes from their debut album hit “I Think I Like You.”
For enthusiasts who’ve deeply resonated with their track “See Through,” a must-listen awaits in the form of “Novacaine.” The lyrically intricate chorus, “Feelin’ down bad, uptight // Stickin’ to my hardline // Tell me that I’m alright // Lighten up and live a little // Ice cold, blood type // Talkin’, but I’m tongue-tied // Lookin’ left, right // Now you got me in the middle,” strikes a chord of brilliance and authentically captures the feelings of panic when it comes to opening up to someone again for the first time.
One final standout from the album is the eighth track “Afraid of the Dark”. Staying true to their tryhard ways, the lyrics sound oddly reminiscent of their track “Haunted” with both compositions diving into the theme of being perpetually haunted by the memories of someone. Nonetheless, the pop beats and the reverbed pre-chorus verses easily make this song a Band CAMINO signature.
The Dark seamlessly transports us back to the vibrant rock band scene of the 2000s. The music behind each track skillfully blends intensity with heartfelt emotions, a strength The Band CAMINO consistently embraces in their distinct sound. Despite the album diving into the challenges of relationships and self-discovery, it’s apparent that each band member found moments of positivity during its creation, infusing the album with a balance between darkness and light in the best way possible. And with their ‘Screaming In The Dark’ North American tour starting in September, we cannot imagine how exhilarating it will be to hear this album live in its rawest and craziest form.
Our rating of the album: 8.5/10
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