Campfire OK – When You Have Arrived
Release Date: September 17th, 2013
Recommended if you like: Deep Sea Diver, Rogue Valley, Bombadil
When a relatively unknown band goes on tour with a very recognizable act, there are essentially two routes the band can take. The first way is to feel overwhelmed by the headliner and just do your best to put on a good show. The second is to put all your cards on the table, play the best show of your life every night, and let people walk away wondering which band was the opener and which was the closer. When Campfire OK toured with Anberlin this summer, crowds raved about their live show and were ecstatic to hear the new songs recorded. For first time listeners of Campfire OK, you’ll find it difficult to put your finger on what exactly to call their music. Whether you call it indie folk, bluegrass, or indie pop, there is no doubt that this is some of the most creative and well crafted music to come out this year.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBTsV0lKYTQ]
Over a year ago, the band released a music video for their song “Wishing You The Best” and put it on YouTube. It’s modest view count does give the incredibly well crafted video the justice it deserves. The song showcases Andrew Eckes’ rolling banjo that is prevalent on most of the record as well as lead singer Mychal Cohen’s unique baritone voice. The hypnotic bass drum complements the lyrics in a way to bring them to the front row of the song as Cohen sings out “And I’m sorry if I was overbearing, but I didn’t mean it. But you’re so pretty, I couldn’t hold back, I couldn’t help it.”
Song after song provides a slightly different sound on the indie rock spectrum, offering up plenty for new fans to love. The song “New Tradition” takes a step back from the banjo and brings in some Wilco-esque electric guitar as Cohen and background vocalist Zarni DeWet sing the majority of the song together in stunning harmony.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVc4vOXE3s8]
The lyrics on each song are just as magnificent as the instrumentation. The title track is near the end of the record, but certainly does not lack in content. The title “When You Have Arrived” is in reference to meeting the expectations of other people, especially from their personal standpoint of being an independent musician. In the chorus, he asks, “Do you know who I am? Do you know what I want? Tell me what it’s like to rise. Tell me how it feels to be admired, and tell me how you know when you’ve arrived.” He puts things into perspective with the second verse as he honestly says, “Oh, gentle sir, don’t you know how our lives are mirrors where we see clearer. I am the man selling roses on your street corner for two small dollars, and I am the man pouring coffee at 6 A.M. for your high school daughters.” The earnest lyrics leave you thinking twice about the work and dedication independent artists like Campfire OK put into their art in order to make a living doing what they love.