Everything is a beautiful contradiction. The debut EP from Melbourne based artist Reuben Apirana, released under his musical moniker Camp 8, has got to be one of the finest EPs I’ve ever heard. Written following a devastating break up, each track serves as a window into a different part of the journey. Starting with the seeds of doubt that something is wrong, through all the loss and anger and pain of the breakup itself, closing with the fresh doubt that comes with new love forming and finding the courage to trust again. Every aspect of the story feels suitably cinematic with its entrancingly emotive orchestration and crisp vocals. A truly immaculately produced baroque pop record. But while every aspect of the artistry at work here is grand and finely crafted, it somehow flows in a way that feels natural and effortless. Musically this release feels very polished and precise, but it also carries an emotional weight that feels raw and uncompromising.
The striking seven minute title track, with its sparse and commanding piano and lush strings, is a gorgeous slow burner that builds towards a resplendent climax. The melancholic ‘Hurt’ buzzes with tension like a dark thought that won’t leave your head, while ‘Barbie’ delights with its interesting percussion and understated brass. The delicate harmonies of ‘Happier’ build toward a choral close that shows the record at its most uplifting, while ‘Shudder’ ends the record in style with Reuben’s most passionate vocal performance yet. The whole EP feels more cohesive, purposeful and ambitious than most full albums you’ll hear in 2020. As stunning as each track is, this release still finds a way to be greater than the sum of its parts. Honing in on the most human moments that come from heartbreak against an elegant backdrop of cinematic soundscapes, there’s something rare and precious here to take your breath away.
Fans of Bon Iver, RY X and Moon Shaped Pool era Radiohead should check out Camp 8’s debut EP Everything