The release of The Band Camino’s debut, self-titled album proves that they have what it takes to make soul-soothing music. The trio’s signature electro-rock-dance music — which mimics running carelessly through the streets — comes together with lyrics of breaking-point struggles to form an ambitious and standout LP.
During their recent performance on “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” the namesake host introduced The Band Camino by quoting critics’ reviews: “It’s something special when it feels like music is speaking directly to you.” The comment section of this performance was flooded with heart emoticons and exclamation points of praise for the trio, making it clear that The Band Camino is here to stay.
For new listeners and longtime fans, The Band Camino is a Tennessee-based band consisting of founding members Jeffery Jordan and Spencer Stewart — college friends who got together to make the type of music they both loved. Bringing in the talents of Garrison Burgess completed the trio, and, thereafter, The Band Camino has been brought to life in sound, screens and stages everywhere.
After what can only be deemed an unprecedented year for musicians, The Band Camino is finally ready to share its sentiments with the world. Coupled with the fact that the debut “was recorded over a span of 40 days on a ranch in Texas,” the isolation of the process makes it far too easy to categorize “The Band Camino” as just another “quarantine album.”
Regarding all the complicated stakes around the release, Jeffery Jordan remarked in an interview with Alternative Press, “This album is the pinnacle of our existence.” What results is The Band Camino delivering an eye-opening set of healing tunes: Passion and authenticity are rendered into 14 rich tracks to cope with the truth of growing up. The album carries a stark maturity throughout the work, laying down a path that is more grown-up than one would expect from a debut album.
Even though there is always a need for music that embodies chasing teenage years into the sunset, there is a special kind of magic in music packaged for an audience that has witnessed and conquered hardships. The Band Camino are definitely not strangers to the struggle; acknowledging all the obstacles that led to this shining debut, band member Spencer Stewart admits how “It would have been a completely different record had last year not happened, but it gave us time to explore.” And explore they did.
To view the album as a metaphor, “The Band Camino” evokes a scene of going to sleep as a child and waking up to the responsibilities of adulthood. A new flurry of worries comes with “adulting,” including heartbreak, regret and ebbing and flowing grief — just to name a few. Despite the harsh reality, The Band Camino isn’t saying anything bad about getting older, either. If coming-of-age music had a cooler, older “sibling” genre that was a combination of party anthems and cold realization, the resulting album would be The Band Camino’s self-titled debut.
From the release of the LP’s first singles, The Band Camino had laid the groundwork for an updated, refreshed version of its electric sound. The first bopping hit “Roses” exploded into the world with a colorful message and a memorable chorus; one review described the song as “an upbeat track that reminds you, quite literally, to stop and smell the roses.” Its emphasis on taking a moment to pause in our everyday life is an unexpected treat. Even though a moral grounding in mindfulness is not an obvious statement to make in a song like “Roses,” the meaning of its lyrics still hums underneath the guise of a lively pop tune.
The single “Roses” proves that The Band Camino has more to flex with their music than what’s just on the surface. Lyrics such as, “I think we’re getting it wrong, it’s too bad / when did it get cool to be so sad?” highlight self-reflection and anguish occupying the present. Even Jordan recalled the emotion of putting this song out into the world: “I felt like it was a pep talk to myself. It was reminding me to be more appreciative.” A band of musicians finding ways to wrap their feelings up in their music is impressive on its own, yet the self-soothing statement becomes even greater when the work manages to touch other lives in the same way.
The range of these singles from the album exposes the best and most authentic parts of the band members as well. Take the single “1 Last Cigarette,” for example; it is a fist-pumping track that also contains the lines, “I try, I try to get my mind right / but it never gets much clearer,” which ends up juxtaposing what is heard and felt. The chaos of having the night of your life — however you personally define “having a good night” — is brought down to earth by the somber morning after.
A critique on the highs and lows of having a “perfect night” is a fully valid interpretation of “1 Last Cigarette,” but it is certainly not the only one. In an Instagram post, Stewart adds the caption, “I could tell you this song is about how using alcohol as a coping mechanism perpetuates already unhealthy habits … but really it’s just about getting drunk and losing my keys.” Even with the silly caption, The Band Camino’s self-awareness of the different meanings of their music speaks to how clever and witty their writing is. As ABC News put it, the band opens themselves up to “confessional lyrics and a sly sense of humor” to capture emotion in their songs. Depending on the way you look at it, each song can fit a whole catalog of moods on its own.
When it comes to standing out and apart from the rest, the debut does an exceptional job at straying from the “coming of age” type of music; instead, listeners face the reality of how to move forward amid constant change and growth each year. The Band Camino’s commitment to expressing their personal turmoil ends up working in their favor with fans who share the sentiments: The musicians craft a 45-minute listening playground to address the pain of the past, and how to cope with those moments lost to time.
Between hard-hitting themes and skin-tingling riffs, “The Band Camino” puts forth the trio at their purest and most comfortable. Aside from the two shining singles, the remainder of The Band Camino’s self-titled album finds solace in addressing feelings that are too often repressed. By using their debut to ruminate on the grief, regret and reckless abandon that pulls each band member apart, the band echoes the raw emotion back on an audience who is likely to be feeling the same way.
With a tune like “Who Do You Think You Are,” the listener gets to dive into a pool of personal introspection. Describing an act that is usually solitary, The Band Camino brings the listener into the feeling of hesitation evoked by the lyrics, “Try to turn it on / even when you hate it.” Though there is a personal sentiment or reason behind why these musicians chose to write this line, it is its universality that makes it special. Everyone can sense the grief and confusion that comes across in the question, “How, how did you get so far away from everything / you thought you’d be at seventeen.” The Band Camino knows themselves enough to create the music equivalent of smiling at yourself in the mirror through a face full of tears — and it shows with the audience’s reaction to the track.
As Substream stated, the song “shows off the band’s pop/electronic side, almost calling back to some of the sound that originally had them recognized” — and The Band Camino pays homage to the past and present in everything they do. It doesn’t matter how dark, techno or even candy-like pop their music becomes, because the trio has perfected how to hold true to their roots.
Hidden among the 14-track collection is also the gem “Sorry Mom.” For anyone looking to slow things down in the middle of the album, The Band Camino learned to embrace a bittersweet apology: “Sometimes I try to act like / I don’t know right from wrong / I’m sorry mom.” The “fun” aspect about growing up and growing into yourself also begs the question of how to handle the messy parts that come with maturity. It’s so easy to get stretched thin by responsibilities to the point where even a simple “sorry” can speak volumes to finding closure in the past.
The truths that make us human — along with the problem of addressing them — also find their way into the album. This tendency to see the obstacles piling up as you attempt to take them down is expressed through the track “Just a Phase,” which reminds the listeners that everything will fall into place when it needs to. The intimacy of the line, “Every time I find a piece / The picture makes no sense to me,” is posed against a grand guitar background to bring out this culminating confusion. The Band Camino continues to acknowledge that this “living” aspect of making it through each day is a difficult and frustrating task, but they’re here to see you through it.
It can be whole-heartedly said that whether you’re a fan or not, the songs that make up the self-titled “The Band Camino” are impressive kick-starters to worldwide success. The icy realization of becoming different over time is cruelly glued to a catchy background beat — and it works. From the listener’s perspective, the album boils down to what you want to resonate with more: the dismal lyrics or the swaying pop. The wide-ranging collection of tunes is sure to have something for every mood, which makes the long-awaited anticipation worth it.
And the band was certainly aware of the eagerness for the album’s release. The Band Camino had known that they were leaving fans at the edge of their seats following the success of their debut EP, “Tryhard,” in 2019. Written beneath an Instagram post, The Band Camino mocked its own fans in good humor with the comment, “wHeRe’S tHe aLbUm ?” Although the anticipation was a strain for both the audience and the band, the end results prove that the wait was well worth it.
The growing need for something both new and familiar finds The Band Camino shoved into the spotlight in the best way. Big choruses against the din of reality make the listener lend an eager ear to what the trio needs to say now and what they’ll continue to say in the future. It’s just as The Band Camino says in its album opener: “But if the song never stopped it wouldn’t have any magic / So even though it’s gotta end I’ll keep singing along.” If The Band Camino remains in the queue, fans and new listeners will be completely content with smashing the replay button to keep singing along.