Modern Camping Songs is quirky, clever, and fun, and would make a perfect alternate soundtrack to Moonrise Kingdom. An anonymous commenter calls it “one of the best camping based musical releases for a few months now”. This endearing statement is a perfect entry point into the album, which discards genre expectations while seeking to entertain.
I might share the sole vocal track, “Pegasus (The Camping Waltz)” with smart campers this summer. I will be nice, I won’t threaten your husband, I won’t keep my drugs in your tent. Everybody sing! The song ends with clip-clops and a repeated cry of “Pegasus!” This happens for no apparent reason, which fits perfectly if you’ve ever spent time in the woods with a bunch of strangers. It’s all supposed to be fun, but more often than not camping involves the painting of a happy face. “Theme (Let’s Go Camping)” has its share of bird whistles and upbeat melodies, but ends with the sound of a can top. Ahh, sweet relief.
The importance of titles is often overlooked in instrumental music. Yet earlier this year, Lullatone and Cinchel bucked the trend by releasing works whose track titles are particularly evocative; now add One and Seven Eighths (U.K. duo Ashley Cole and Graham McElroy) to that list. “Rough Tent at Night” is the sound of rain leaking between flaps of vinyl; “Morning Heat” shimmers like the hot sun that makes sleeping late unbearable; “Monkeys on a Ford Grenada” is poppy and playful. While the latter may not reflect a typical camping experience, the phrase “I’m sure I packed it in here” is just right. Add sound effects – thunder, zippers, canteens and the like – and a sonic souvenir is born. The children of Moonrise Kingdom brought a record player on their journey, but if you’ll be camping this season, you may wish to bring a tape recorder. (Richard Allen)