Sometimes beauty can come out of the deepest pain.
Or at least that’s what new band, Camp Hope offers in their debut album, Michael released on January 27 via In Vogue Records.
After releasing the latest album Equivalency in October 2017 with Hotel Books, Camp Hope and now Michael comes out as a side project for vocalist, Cam Smith.
“For me, Camp Hope was something I needed to make,” said Smith in an interview with the Alternative Press, “I have carried the idea in my heart for years, and during the recording sessions of “Equivalency,” by Hotel Books, Nick Ingram and I decided to try building a rock song around elements from hip-hop and pop music we loved.”
Unlike the previous work by Hotel Books which focuses around the poetry of Smith, Michael is a full-fledged hip-hop album, helped produced by Johnathan Shearer and Nick Ingram, that balances rock and pop sounds emulated from bands that Smith was a fan of while growing up.
“As a kid, I grew up listening POD, Linkin Park, Pax217, dcTalk, Thousand Foot Krutch, and others, and I wanted to make music that combined the elements of these bands that spoke to me,” he said “Nick Ingram has a vast knowledge of modern pop, and Jonathan is a big fan of mid-2000’s rap, so the three of us got to work.”
However, though Camp Hope has its distinct sound compared to that of Hotel Books, Michael still contains thought-provoking lyricism that Smith is known for but also doubles, what Smith said, as an ode to more of his “inspirations.”
“I wanted to take the amazing lyrical themes of modern bands like Sorority Noise, The Menzingers, and In Her Own Words, and speak from my heart on the same ideals. I’ve always been afraid of embracing any inspirations, so for this album, I wanted to honor and share the love I have for other music,” said Smith.
The lyrics throughout Michael seemingly reveal Smith’s inner thoughts centered around the battle with anxiety, demonstrated in the explosive “Don’t Crash Yet.” Between heartbreak and lovesick, Smith offers “Trying to find peace/ But I know there’s a beat/ When I find anxiety in all this pile.” And yet again, in the tender “Your Love Is Musical,” with “Imma turn my anxiety into security.”
However, “Ready To Fall,” what resembles the most Linkin Park sounding track between its switch of rapping and singing, this anxiety undertone is felt the greatest as Smith weighs in “I’m here to tell you I’m ready to go with my back up against the wall.”
Ultimately, between the pain and the honesty in lyrics, what seems to hold Smith hostage inside his own mind at times, Michael is a hauntingly beautiful album that gives the fans of Hotel Books a chance to understand Smith and his poetry on a deeper level now with Camp Hope.
Michael is available to stream on Spotify.