Personnel: William Bowerman (drums).
Audio Mixers: Jeremy Warmsley; Elizabeth Sankey.
Photographer: Charlotte Rutherford.
After one album that was stuck in the '80s and one that tipped too far in the direction of slick radio pop, Summer Camp's third album, and first to be self-produced, shows the band finally starting to forge some kind of unique identity. Bad Love starts off with a four-song segment that downplays their love of '80s pop, adds some '90s grit, and has a tougher, more exciting sound, bringing in fuzzy shoegaze guitars, punchy tempos, and impassioned vocals. It's a bracing start and at least one of the songs, the opening "Bad Love," sounds like a sure-fire hit single. The others get the arrangements just right and have cute little bits that stand out like shards of glass on a sidewalk; the vocal counterpoint between Elizabeth Sankey and Jeremy Warmsley on the dramatic "Beautiful" and the keening guitar lead on "Sleepwalking" are two fine examples. They sound like a totally revitalized group, brushing away the gauzy haze of previous efforts with a forceful wave of their hands. The rest of the album features a couple other uptempo tracks that have some real bite ("If You Hate Me" and "Keep Up"), some light modern pop that sounds like the better songs on Summer Camp, and a sophisticated ballad or two. If it's not a huge jump forward, Bad Love is at very least a big step in the right direction. ~ Tim Sendra