Campfire OK - Strange Like We Are (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Campfire OK

Strange Like We Are (2011)


Sometimes it's difficult to actually pinpoint what it is about a band that makes you want to find out more about them. For me, Campfire OK is one of those bands. The name isn't that memorable, their website doesn't stand out as being overly interesting, but there was something I couldn't put my finger on that made me want to hear their music. I'm glad I did.

Campfire OK's output quite comfortably straddles a number of genres on this, their debut album. What originally started as a two-piece project for Mychal Goodweather eventually expanded into a larger unit as he sought additional input to supplement his initial musical endeavours.

What is evident is that those ideas have been weaved into a collection of songs that smoothly ease their way into your head rather than needing a crowbar to enter your consciousness. Whether you call the music Americana, or folk, or pop, or even indie, all of those adjectives will, at one stage throughout the album, fit perfectly with what you're hearing. There are moments when a track might take a more definite steer towards a specific kind of sound, and that adds to the enjoyment of the album. However, as it refuses to be stuck on a narrow lane with no way of changing direction, anything is possible within each song.

It can't be easy to produce an album that is as listenable as this and which also includes an awful lot of upfront percussion. I find myself listening to songs (and enjoying them) only to suddenly realise that there is quite an involvement of assorted percussion/drums, which on its own could be rather invasive. However, all the instrumentation sits together nicely, as one minute I'm making comparisons to the Weakerthans and the next I start hearing hints of They Might Be Giants (another band who've never steered away from making a more adventurous approach to music). The other point worth making is that although it might come across as a fairly basic sound, it's obviously a lot more complex and involved than it seems. There are layers here that work extremely well, building up a lush yet simple sound that has a modern edge to it whilst also retaining a sense of days gone by.