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4.1 out of 5 stars
8
4.1 out of 5 stars
Welcome To Condale [VINYL]
Format: Vinyl|Change
Price:£36.74+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime


on 9 July 2017
Don't you just love it when music hacks { ex or otherwise } decide to have a crack at the old pop malarkey? Here's our chance you might think to pour scorn on the efforts of the high and mighty, payback time for having put the boot into our favourite albums and most treasured artists.
So what happens? Well in the case of erstwhile NME contributor Elizabeth Sankey { for it is she } they go and make endearing records, that's what!
The Summer Camp project, Sankey's joint enterprise in tandem with musician husband Jeremy Warmsley, has thus far produced a myriad of singles and e.p's, a documentary soundtrack, and three very likeable albums. Generally considered their best work, 'Welcome To Condale', a concept album of sorts immediately evokes celluloid images of 80's middle American suburbia where skateboards rule the sun kissed sidewalks, every night is 'Prom', and all the teenagers look 25.
This is a time and place that the Summer Camp duo are clearly in thrall to and this is lovingly recreated in the imaginary town setting of the title track, where if you listen carefully there sits a smart 'Poltergeist' reference. Delightful opening track 'Better Off Without You' wastes no time in whisking you back to a world of ridiculous outfits that no self respecting teen would ever be seen dead in, and where wooden dance moves are performed to Tiffany, Jane Wiedlin, and Laura Branigan's 'Gloria' booming from shoulder propped beat boxes.
As usual Sankey is in fine voice, particularly on 'I Want You' and the track that bears the duo's name. Warmsley certainly knows how to construct a good tune as 'Brian Krakow and 'Down' confirms, but sometimes the cheese can begin to grate, with 'Losing My Mind ' and 'Last American Virgin' the glaring culprits. But when it's good it's really good {'Done Forever'} and most importantly fun { '1988' }. "Open Your Heart" to the latter track { See what I did there? } and the memories will come back at you thick and fast; Jon Cryer's bad hair, Molly Ringwald's sulky pout, Matthew Broderick's smug face, and lest we forget, Judd Nelson's flared nostrils.
I would have to disagree that this is Summer Camp's finest moment. That honour goes to the eponymous follow up where the duo's vision truly bears fruit, and the consistency of the material is far superior. Like 2015's 'Bad Love', 'Welcome To Condale' falls marginally short of their sophomore effort, and it's telling that one of the strongest songs here, 'Ghost Train' was salvaged from the earlier 'Young' e.p.
It's patently clear that Sankey and Warmsley are a gifted couple, but questions must be raised as to how much further they can milk their pet obsession when such a pairing are so obviously capable of turning out something of genuine substance. In the meantime enjoy and make the most of their infectious output, but it will be fascinating to see where they are by 2020.
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on 20 August 2012
This album is just so fresh but heavily reminiscent of the 80's with the classic movie influences and sound bites throughout!
This album has never failed to put a smile on my face even in the snow and I'm still listening to it almost a year later!!
The whole album is great and each song transitions perfectly to the next!
Couple of favourites are 'Better Off Without You', 'Summer Camp', 'Down' and 'Welcome To Condale'.
Needless to say if you hadn't already heard their EP 'Young' you should!!
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TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 24 November 2011
"Ferris Bueller's Day Off", "Pretty in Pink", "The Breakfast Club" and now "Welcome to Condale"? Strange but many have noticed that the new album by London duo Summer Camp comprising Jeremy Warmsley and Elizabeth Sankey seems to bring back memories of those great films by the late John Hughes and pay homage to the themes of suburban teen angst, unrequited love and a nice line in gently cutting humor. The sub plot here is the creation of a fictional California town called Condale populated with a range of characters who appear throughout their songs. In reality it doesn't really amount to hill of beans since the core of this album is the presence of glorious 80s based retro pop songs which are meticulously sung by the brilliant Sankey and given a huge almost Human League style backdrop by Warmsley. The timing on this album could be viewed as out of kilter. Check out the video for the pounding synth pop anthem "Night Train" and its all sea, sun and surfers. Yet a blast of UV Rays into these grey November days is most welcome and this is pop music at it most throwaway and disposable, often with its tongue firmly in its cheek but deeply affectionate and loveable all the same. No song fits this sentiment more than the standout track here "I want you" with its huge waves of undulating synths which pound and roll and halfway through mutuate into choppy Depeche Mode style waves of sound with Sankey's vocal literally dripping sex appeal. The title track is a sort of Jan and Dean for the Twitter generation with its mix of dreamy pop and California imagery. Alternatively "Losing my mind" sees a nice duet between our two protagonists and a singalong chorus designed to infiltrate your band and demand an exorcism to get it out. Most intriguing is "Summer Camp" a sweet love song with excellent instrumentation underpinned by bubbling micro beats and pounding chords, while in a perfect world "Last American virgin" would storm the charts immediately.

Some might argue that Summer Camp are essentially a bunch of Retromaniacs who have spent too far much time listening to Blondie and Yazoo and on times come far to close to crossing the line marked "twee". Yet Sankey is a canny character and knows the source material for this era very well being an ex NME journalist who appears to have got a burning desire to "pick up the tools". On balance we should be thankful she did for this is a genuinely well constructed and pleasurable album with enough cool quality to separate it from the mere run of the mill. Who knows whether this band has any chance of longevity but you suspect that before they run their course a couple of big single hits could be entirely possible plus a short period of world domination. Quite how two Londoners have managed so accurately to produce hymns which capture so accurately USA centred Teen Dreams is a mystery but in the last analysis the heat and the warmth on this album is irresistible.
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on 24 November 2011
My Rating: 9/10

Really love this album. Full of proper songs with an authentic sound. I don't normally like female vocals but here they really work. A joy to listen to, and far more satisfying than all the background pap that seems to permeate the 'industry' at the moment. It goes against the grain, i know, being playful, enjoyable, well written, and, dare i say it, fun. If you're more into analysing music to the nth degree, rather than actually enjoying that simplist of human connections to music then you're better off avoiding this, you simply won't understand it.
If that doesn't rule you out then give it a listen - who knows, maybe this concept style, tongue in cheek, nod to the 80s album will fill the musical void for you too?
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on 22 September 2012
Great, happy & uplifting sounding album. Loved every track, including 'brian krakow', the 2nd song of the album which lots of other reviewers seem to dislike, I thought it was an awesome track. Super indie-pop album.
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on 8 January 2014
I'm sure the vinyl is fine but I am very dissatisfied with the amazon customer service. I purchased this as a Christmas present for my daughter. It came with a free mp3 download which went to my account and my daughter cannot access it. I asked amazon for help and they replied it could only be accessed by the account holder. I should buy her a gift voucher so she could buy the cd and would get a free mp3 download with that. I complained about that advice and have had no reply. I am sure the vinyl is fine, my complaint is with the customer service from Amazon!

It arrived very promptly and well packaged.
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on 3 June 2015
Superb. Mint condition. Lowest price.-
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on 16 August 2012
Cd arrived quickly but its an album of singles rather than a good album as there are some annoying tracks in there. I think they may be better live
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