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Campfire OK

Strange Like We Are

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Disconnection and disaffection prevail on Seattle folk-pop four-piece Campfire OK's debut. But we've seen that before. What's much more rare is the high level of cohesion and precision in a debut album. Strange Like We Are is satisfying pop, fizzy and mellow in all the right places. It even has a little bite to it.

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The band throws the entire music room at its first effort, but remarkably, their sound always feels organic. When a trumpet abruptly belches out a few notes over a battle royale between guitar, keys and banjo for the melody, it seems natural. Sudden tempo changes rarely come across as a for-the-hell-of-it maneuver. And just when it sounds like Campfire OK's getting a little self-indulgent, the album ratchets down a notch.

The songwriting bogs down in hackneyed metaphor and despairing indie-boy melodrama. But these are forgivable slights on such a strong first outing. The craftsmanship on display sounds like efforts of a band with a lot more financial backing. But with a debut that seems to fire every gun in the artillery, it will be interesting to see whether Campfire OK has any more tricks up the sleeve for future releases.

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