The debut release from Camp Dark entitled Nightmare In A Day is one you won’t want to miss. It initially started as a project by Adam Svec (vocals/guitar) and Graham O’Brien (synths/samplers/drums) but quickly grew with an ample amount of contributors. Nightmare In A Day is a satisfying listen in a number of ways. The first thing I noticed is the sonic qualities of this album. It’s truly exceptional and the sounds explore everything in the frequency spectrum. From Portishead-style trip-hop style drums to shimmering synths and everywhere in between the album has a huge palette of textures and tones that at times feel limitless.
The songs on Nightmare In A Day aren’t afraid to get experimental and think outside of the box but also have a good amount of infectious melodies. It’s a combination, which is undeniably enjoyable that only a prolific band can manage to pull off. Albums like Neon Golden by The Notwist and We Forget It In People by Broken Social Scene are examples of what I am talking about and Nightmare In A Day touts a very similar exploration of combining sound and I welcome their music with open arms.
The band opens up with “Are You Hiding” which was a good choice. It is dark atmosphere which is reminiscent of Portishead and is juxtaposed by vocals that are subdued yet are sing-along worthy. Svec repeats the lyrics like a mantra. He sings, “Are you hiding? I’d like to help you.”
Svec on “Charlie” reminded me a bit of Ben Gibbard but the music sounds more like “Climbing Up The Walls” by Radiohead. “Arm Are You OK” gets into some inventive experimental territory. The verse sounds a bit similar to “Human Behavior” by Bjork but also goes off into directions you wouldn't expect.
The exceptional “Family Curse” was another example of the band willing to test boundaries. I was more than enjoying the free jazz style drumming that combined with the Thom Yorke style falsetto. Arpeggiated synths and shimmering lights enter out of nowhere on the chorus. It's arguably the most inspired moment on the album.
Even a song like “Former Lovers” which is a pretty straightforward song has a beautiful atmospheric ending that is a further testament to the band's talent while the closer “Words That Don’t Exist” has beautiful guitar playing and one of the most notable vocal performances. My only minor issue is the album feels a little long at thirteen tracks. For a debut the album may have been a bit more effective at ten but even that's arguable.
Camp Dark is a new band that dwell in relative obscurity but I can’t imagine that would be the case if enough people hear their songs. Highly recommended.
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