2020 was supposed to be the year of The Band CAMINO. After breaking out in 2018 with “Daphne Blue” and following that up with a massively successful and sold-out headlining tour in 2019, things had lined up to continue their growth in 2020. There were two arena tours planned: an opening slot with Dan + Shay in the spring, and opening for 5 Seconds of Summer in the summer.
The 5 Seconds of Summer tour got canceled. The Dan + Shay tour got postponed and just kicked off yesterday (September 9th). While there were no announcements, it was anticipated The Band CAMINO would have released their debut full-length album in 2020 as well. Instead, much like every artist last year, the band had to pivot and alter their entire strategy — including navigating the removal of a founding member.
But, The Band CAMINO kept themselves busy after quieting down on social media for a while. First up was the release of their Chelsea Cutler-collaboration, “Crying Over You in July. Next up was “Roses” in December, followed by “1 Last Cigarette” in February of 2021, “Sorry Mom” in April, and then finally came the album announcement in June with “Know It All.”
To top it all off, this week fans got spoiled, as the band elected elected to release “I Think I Like You” and “Who Do You Think You Are?” as the fifth and sixth singles (“Crying Over You” did not make the record).
All of this to say, the release cycle for The Band CAMINO’s self-titled debut album has been less than ideal. That’s perhaps an understatement, as all of 2020 and the first half of 2021 was essentially unprecedented and less than ideal. But now the band can finally say something they — and fans — have waited so long to say: their debut record is out.
Across the album’s six singles unveiled prior to the album’s release today, the Memphis-based trio showed off their wide range of influences and incredibly personal/unique brand of rock music. “1 Last Cigarette” is a blazing, in-your-face type rocker (not unlike “Daphne Blue”), and there’s a reason it climbed the alternative airplay charts so quickly. “Who Do You Think You Are?” shows off the band’s pop/electronic side, almost calling back to some of the sound that originally had them recognized by the likes of Taylor Swift and, of course, their current label in Elektra Records. “Roses” is almost lyrically a direct response to the challenge that was surviving 2020, as musically it falls somewhere between the two aforementioned tracks while containing one of the best choruses of the record.
This isn’t to say The Band CAMINO released their best songs prior to the album release, or the they revealed their whole hand beforehand. Album opener “EVERYBODYDIES” may have a fun late-2000’s metalcore song title, but the song itself couldn’t be any further from that if it tried. The song empowers both vocalists Spencer Stewart and Jeffrey Jordan to take back their life and let go of their worries, with the chorus proclaiming “I’d be waiting for forever / If I’m waiting for a better day” and “I don’t know what the future holds / But it happens how it happens / Everybody dies anyway.” While there may be an underlying sense of nihilism underneath the song, the song manages to keep a good vibe behind it’s indie/rock instrumentals.
The juxtaposition behind writing upbeat songs with heartbreaking lyrics that consistently tear at your heartstrings is part of what has made The Band CAMINO so intriguing, going all the way back to 2016’s “2/14.” It’s a lot like that barbie house meme — you know the one — but when it works, it works. Their debut record is no different, as “Underneath My Skin” tells the story of needing to cut someone off but being unable to when they hit you up for one reason or another, but for this specific case…well, I’ll revert to the second verse:
“Now I’m sleeping over, waking up inside your apartment
We’ve been down this road a thousand times, I’m not trying to start shit
I’m so sick of all the promises you make when you’re wasted
But I fall for it every time that I see you naked”
I mentioned that “Roses” may have one of the best choruses on the record, and that’s strongly rivaled by “I Think I Like You.” The song is a modern synth-driven pop song that is a Stewart sung track through and through, including some impressive falsetto during the song. “Look Up” takes some of those electronic-produced elements and takes it to a whole new funky level. It’s a catchy, fun song that finds the band pleaing with the listener to simply look up from their phone and other portable devices and enjoy the things around them. Think of it as a sequel to “Roses” lyrically speaking, albeit a more straightforward conversation of “Hey, here’s a problem, and here’s what you do to fix it.”
Not one to leave off the rock anthems, The Band CAMINO know there’s a demand and thus they supply. Personally, this writer is a big fan when these guys just let It rip and record what comes to life. A good illustration of this is “Know It All,” which follows a soft/loud pattern in the verse/chorus, respectively. An even better example of this type of song would be the track, “Just a Phase,” which kicks things up a notch right in the middle of the record. It’s not unfamiliar for the band, but it’s arguably the most pop-punk leaning The Band CAMINO have gone. Again, this writer simply is not complaining because both of these songs here are must-listens for the album.f
Just as The Band CAMINO like to supply the rocking songs, a lot of their fans know they can often count on the guys for some songs that will be a straight attack on their feelings. If you ever listen to this record and are looking for the most painful trio of songs, may I suggest “Song About You,” “Damage,” and “Help Me Get Over You.”
“Song About You” is sort of their version of Plain White T’s “1, 2, 3, 4” except new, improved, and not a love song. “Damage” is a mid-tempo pop/rock song, never picking up and never really slowing down too much. I’m a firm believer that if they made this song the piano song instead of “Help Me Get Over You” it would be a little more heartbreaking, especially due to it’s second chorus. But don’t worry, “Help Me Get Over You” is still a song that will hurt. During the mainly piano-driven song, Jordan pleads with an ex to help him get over them, through various ways of hurting him:
“I wish that I had a single reason
I could hate you for leaving
Could you just give me something?
Talk shit, get all of my friends on your sid
Go off without me online
Call me when you’re drunk and
Tell me you slept with my best friend
Say you always hated my bed
And you wish you’d never met me
Or you met somebody new
Put me out of all my misery
Say you can’t stand the thought of me
Even if you have to lie, there must be something you can do
Help me get over you”
While I could probably write another thousand and some words about The Band CAMINO and their self-titled debut album, I won’t. I’ll spare you that as I know 1) you don’t want to read all of that and 2) it would end up mostly rambling and incoherent.
There have been plenty of new records in 2021, but none of them are like The Band CAMINO’s debut album. This is a record that feels like it’s been a long time coming and turned out to be well worth the wait. There is seriously something for everyone on this record, whether you like happy songs, sad songs, sad songs, or songs that are just fun to vibe to. They pulled out all the stops and across the album’s fourteen tracks, you won’t get to the end feeling disappointed. No feelings of being unsatisfied. No “That’s it?” moment – this record may take you on an emotional and musical rollercoaster, but you’ll enjoy every twist and turn.
While plans had to pivot and be get pushed back, The Band CAMINO took that head on and said “no problem” and now 2021 is bound to be their year. They’re now out on an arena tour with Dan + Shay, and with only a few headlining shows performed so far this year, you can bet a headlining tour will be coming later this year/early-2022. And with their debut record now underneath them, The Band CAMINO are ready to take over as the new and fresh faces of rock music.