A year after their album release, local Richmond post-punk band Camp Howard, breaks the bar that was set with their self-titled album and raises it higher with Juice.
Juice is, much like its namesake, sweet, flowing from one song to the next with a feverous musical nectar. Their self-titled album set their sound as post-punk with some fuzzier metal elements. While the same could be said for Juice, this EP strives for a sound a likened with 80’s rock mixed in with that classic Camp Howard sound. Some songs felt like if the Beach Boys decided to shave their heads and embark on a beach punk journey, while others felt like their Camp Howard’s songs with more vocal harmonization and emphasis on syncopated drums and smoother rhythm guitar.
Camp Howard’s second EP starts off with “Haircut”. We immediately are given a sample of the EP’s new sound with up-beat drums and a solid 80’s rhythm guitar vibe reminiscent of what you might have heard on the radio during that era. Next up is the namesake of the EP, “Juice”. Juice keeps it simple with a tri-toned drumbeat and again that 80’s rhythm guitar with a modular faded sound. After Juice comes what anyone would expect after drinking an excessive amount of the liquid, “Fucked Up”. This song is resonant with that old post-punk sound Camp Howard engraved with their self-title, from the drums to the melodies, and especially the chorus of the song, this is what Camp Howard was built on. Again, like "Fucked Up"’s self-titled sound, “Mismo” changes things up and is sang entirely in Spanish. Much of this song breathes new life into what Camp Howard created with their last Spanish punk song, introducing a beautiful blend of syncopated drums and slickly smooth finger picking.
Continuing from Mismo is “Country”, a song that is meant for moshing and thrashing. Fast paced drums and grunge driven guitar movements sink into the vocal harmonization kept throughout the EP making anyone in the near vicinity want to punch a wall and break their knuckles (or not, minimal pain works too). The EP then closes out with “I Will”. A soft-post punk ballad. It’s a slow song in comparison to the other songs, but nonetheless manages to make one’s foot taps in sync with the heart strings tugged from this song.
All in all, Camp Howard is a band that continually transcends what it means to make music. With each new release, they just get better and better. You’d be a sucker to not listen to this. You want Juice, if not in your mouth, then in the very least your ears.