by / April 1st, 2011 /

Summer Camp – XOYO, London

After some initial mystery last year, London synth-pop duo Summer Camp outed themselves as Elizabeth Sankey and Jeremy Warmsley. Now signed to Moshi Moshi, they released a couple of singles and an EP of sun drenched retro pop. Tonight, the duo’s Lyle & Scott XOYO gig in London is a full house of bequiffed barnets discussing transport routes and drinking overpriced beer from plastic cups.

“We got smokes and a bottle of wine” sets the scene for an evening of banging synths, strong vocals and rich lyrics. Warmsley plays guitar, sings, plays synth and programs beats. She wails, shouts and croons. Technical problems reported from their recent SXSW appearance have been rectified and the evening goes off without a hitch, allowing the pair to captivate the typically emotionless London crowd, who nod and clap in genuine appreciation.

On stage, the warmth of the recordings is stripped away, allowing for a more raw and biting live experience, which is all the more poignant given the recurring themes of breakup, anger and a modern twenty-something existence. Halfway through Elizabeth announces: “This is about a tough break up…. Just play it… I’ve ruined it now”, half giggling before blasting into a wall of sound, wailing “This house isn’t big enough for the two of us”. The impression is that these songs, arranged differently, would make for big selling pop hits, but these two couldn’t care less.

Blogs have been crawling all over songs like ‘I Want You’, ‘Ghost Train’ and ‘Around The Moon’, all stellar efforts indeed, but in tonight’s show they don’t stand out any more than anything else performed (in a good way). Signing off on the night is a track that starts out with ’80s drum snare sounds before morphing into an electronic club banger. Imagine Kate Bush Goes To Hollywood …or Frankie Goes Cloudbursting. It’s wall to wall enjoyment, and we’re left with a feeling that we’d seen a genuinely brilliant act who we’ll be hearing more from in the future. Add a self deprecating swagger, sharp wit and charming manner, this band are worth your undivided attention.

I Want You by Summer Camp