The revival of beloved emo label Count Your Lucky Stars has been great to watch, and with their recent signing of Florida’s Camp Trash, it looks like the label’s got a bright future again. The four-piece is a bit of an outlier for the label, however; their style of emo is far from the sad, twinkling sort the label made its name on. Instead, Camp Trash draws on the poppier stylings of bands like The Get Up Kids and Saves the Day, but with a modern edge, similar to Oso Oso’s basking in the glow. Downtiming, the band’s debut EP, doesn’t feel like a rehash, though, or a relic. It feels like a statement entirely Camp Trash’s own.
The EP kicks off with “Bobby,” the most immediately gripping song on Downtiming. It’s bright and bouncy, with an infectious vocal melody and danceable riff; the song’s hook of “I feel better, I feel better for it” is deceptively simple, making for a massive ear worm just begging to be shouted out back to the band in a crowded basement (at some indeterminate point in the future). “Sleepyhead,” a classic-sounding pop-punk song, keeps up the energy with a fuzzy riff and another monster hook.
The EP’s b-side begins with the acoustic “Potomino.” Unlike typical obligatory acoustic songs, “Potomino” doesn’t completely kill the flow of Downtiming; instead, the song’s harmonies give it a unique feel on the EP and it serves as a natural bridge into the nearly four-minute closer. “Weird Carolina” begins with a restrained verse reminiscent of early Built to Spill before things pick up and the song kicks into gear a minute in. It gives the band a chance to play with dynamics in ways that they don’t explore much on the other three songs, and as a result it feels like a journey to close things off.
It is true that, throughout Downtiming’s 12-minute runtime, a number of other bands come to mind; nonetheless, at no point does the EP feel like anyone other than Camp Trash. It feels like an outgrowth of their influences, rather than a product of them. Emo music is, in a lot of ways, a genre built on nostalgia; every new band that crops up is successful almost exclusively based on how similar they sound to the giants of the genre from the late ’90s. That’s probably what’s so exciting about Camp Trash. For as much as they draw from bands of yesterday, they turn it into something fresh. For a genre that’s so obsessed with recreating the past, Camp Trash is looking toward the future.