Album Review: Camp Cope - Running With The Hurricane

A song, when you think about it, is a finite thing—a very clear beginning and end. 

But, within those boundaries, if a song is really special—and I think you might, already, understand the kind of songs I am talking about—there is something created in the space that forms between the beginning and end—and in that space, the song has the potential to become infinite. 

If a song is really special, or powerful, or impactful, it also creates that feeling within the listener. 

It’s the kind of feeling when something is much bigger, and more important, than itself. 

The kind of feeling of something that lives on, and continues to grow, even when you aren’t actually listening to this song—you still feel this way when the song continues replaying within your mind. 


Originally, when I had considered writing something w/r/t Running With The Hurricane, the third full-length effort from the Australian outfit Camp Cope, I had thought about jokingly opening with how it is an album about “double texting.”

And I don’t remember clearly when this became my “writing process”—somewhere in 2019, maybe, but for sure by the middle of 2020—I believed I needed to own a physical copy of the record I intended on writing something about. 

I believed immersing myself in it while it played on the turntable was an integral part of the “experience” of the album and that I would be doing myself a disservice if I merely listened off of my laptop, through headphones.

For myriad reasons, I am unable to write about every album I have even a passing interest in listening to throughout a given month—and in convincing myself that I needed to own a copy of the albums I intended on writing about (usually on vinyl, as I was able), I found as 2020 became 2021, I was just buying a lot of records. 

Like, probably more than I should.

Like, even outside of everything I wanted to write about, I found I had quickly fallen into the habit of discovering a new band somehow—reading a blurb on a music news website, or through a recommendation from someone, and more often than not, I would listen to a song or two, and immediately think, “Well, I have to own this on vinyl—and I have to order it right now, without any additional consideration.”

My record collection was growing at a somewhat startling rate, the shelves filling with things I thought I just had to have. And it became clear to me, late but better than never, through an extremely unfortunate series of events, that I was spending entirely too much money on records. 

It truly varied, depending on what I felt I had to have, but there was a time, not all that long ago, where I would sometimes end up ordering like two or three records a week. 

Butt my habits have changed, and in the last four or five months, I have only bought two vinyl LPs. 

And I labored over the decision to do so, but I ultimately ordered them not because I thought owning a physical copy would help immerse me in the music to better write about it, and not because I had heard, like, one song on Spotify, or saw someone tweet about them and then had a knee-jerk reaction, erroneously believing I just had to have the album, only to find myself not returning to it after one or two listens.

I did it because they were both records I thoroughly enjoyed, and believed in. Records that I had already been moved by in some way, while listening through other means, and felt like I could offer myself a little grace, and allow myself a concession in buying them.

I believed them to be records I would return to with some regularity, in a collection where sometimes I am overwhelmed by the decision of what to listen to. 

Running With The Hurricane was one of those records—an album so good, and so beautiful, and in the end, so devastating, it is something I felt deserved to be experienced from my turntable and not just heard through wireless headphones.

An album that is so astounding, as I sit here writing about it, it is something that deserves a lot more than jokingly saying it is an album about “double texting.” 

Running With The Hurricanes is not a “concept album,” but it is a collection of 10 songs that are loosely connected through both similar instrumentation and arranging from the band, but more importantly, through Camp Cope lead singer and principal songwriter Georgia McDonald’s use of recurring imagery in her thoughtful, unflinchingly honest lyricism. 

The expression “double texting” is used twice on the album—appearing once on the first side in the song “Blue,” and then again, in the second half, on “Jealous,” both of which happened to be released as singles in advance of the record as a whole. 

McDonald’s return to excessive text messaging is not the only instance on Running With The Hurricane where themes or ideas are referenced more than once—the hurricane that is mentioned in both the album’s title (and title track) also appears in the smoldering, soaring opening song “Caroline.” 

Elsewhere, McDonald, often romaines on the color of the sky (always golden) and about vast mountains in the distance.

And there is an intelligence to Running With The Hurricane, and its structure, that I noticed almost immediately when I began listening to it from start to finish, uninterrupted. It is, inherently, an album about love, and all the different kinds of love there can be—and all the different emotions and situations one finds themselves in because of love. There are examples of this intelligence throughout, but it is first apparent in how both sides of the album opens with songs that feature lyrical depictions of a kind of subversive desperation and need for affection. 

As “Caroline” begins to slowly build toward its soaring chorus, McDonald confesses in the opening lines, very matter of factly, “I’ve been laying down—I’ve been going down, giving strangers head. And I’ve been telling myself that I’m better than this—but I’m not. No one is.”

She mirrors this with the equally as honest line in the opening to “Love Like You Do,” where she sings in a long, slow, Australian drawl, “Said that I’m clean—swear that I’m clean. Get checked regularly. It’s nothing to do that.”

There is an intelligence to Running With The Hurricane—a thoughtful, often poetic, unflinchingly honest collection of songs that in the dissection of the different kinds of love, it becomes both a stark and absolutely beautiful reflection on the terrible longing for any kind of connection—romantic or platonic—and the difficulties one often finds in navigating the human condition. 


During a phone conversation with my best friend, I mention to her how good Running With The Hurricane is, and suggest she check it out as she is able—and in the moment, struggling a bit to describe the band’s sound, so I wind up telling her it’s “a bit twangy, and a bit rocky.”

“Oh,” she says, then laughs. “Just like me!”

Much has been made in the press leading up to the release of Hurricane about the growth in Camp Cope’s sound. The trio, founded roughly seven years ago, could be easily classified as a punk band, based on the volatile nature of their self-titled effort from 2016; the follow up from two years later, How to Make Friends and Socialize is perhaps even more volatile, simply because, according to a long interview with McDonald that ran on Pitchfork, that album is deeply rooted in a place of anger. 

I’m still angry at a lot of things in the world,” she explained. “But my anger doesn’t own me or control me anymore.”

So, yes, for listeners, like myself, who were not familiar with Camp Cope’s output up until now, it might be surprising when hearing just how brash they could be on their previous efforts. And so, yes, like, the last four years—two of which were spent living through the pandemic—have provided the trio with an opportunity for growth, both personally, based on the long conversation McDonald had with Pitchfork writer Jenn Pelly, as well for the way the band works and sounds. 

Though, I feel like not enough has been made of, or at least has not been mentioned in any of the coverage I have read on Running With The Hurricane, Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich’s credit in the liner notes as playing “lead bass guitar,” and what that means for the development of the musical texture the album takes on.

And perhaps when listening through headphones to mp3s or from a streaming platform, or even the muffled and flattened sound of a laptop’s speakers, Hellmrich’s command over the bass is less apparent, or it is not as clear as is capable of being when compared to how the record sounds—how the layers are precariously balanced—when you listen to the LP on a stereo, because it is truly something to behold. 

It was surprising at first, and can still be kind of startling on subsequent listens—but maybe “startling” isn’t the right word, but there is an innovation and an excitement to the way she plays, and the way those notes tumble with precision, effortlessly and gracefully finding their way into the song’s fabric—often right on the top.

Across the album’s 10 tracks, outside of the intelligence written into the lyricism and the connections that can occur from song to song, there is the intelligence in how these songs have been sequenced—there is a compelling musical give and take that happens throughout in the way Camp Cope plays with the idea of tension and release. Several tunes are a little slower, and a lot more reserved in how they are performed; those songs are contrasted with when the band knows to let go of that reserve—nothing ever gets away from them, but given their frenzied early days, there are moments that are enormous and rollicking.

Perhaps unintentionally, Running With The Hurricane’s advance singles are among the most rollicking, gigantic, and at times, freewheeling of this set—finding that place between sounding a little rocky and a little twangy, and in the case of “Blue,” you can hear McDonald embracing a slightly more pop-oriented songwriting structure in how it is not entirely constructed around the huge shout-along chorus, but it is undeniably infectious and is one of the most fun moments on the record. 

The album’s title track is certainly, and aptly, the one that gets caught up in its own ferocity, and is the most dizzying out of the 10, becoming a place where the group’s chaotic punk energy from the past (specifically in drummer Sarah Thompson’s relentless bashing away on the kit) collides with not so much the “gentle, folksy nature” that some of these songs can find themselves wandering into, but rather the palpable twang from McDonald’s guitar licks, with Hellmrich’s nimble and taut basslines serving as the thing that keeps the song from collapsing under the weight of its own exuberance. 

In the album’s second half, “Jealous” opens with what can only be described as a jaunty, kind of musical engine revving that even includes some piano key tinkling swirling into the cacophony before the dust settles—the song, the last single released before Running With The Hurricane’s arrival, works to find where all of the album’s aesthetics and influences can coexist. The bassline is at the center, but is never oppressive—more than anything, it crafts a slinky groove as Thompson’s steady rhythm on the drums follows along. Musically, “Jealous” is not among the most reserved, but it is also not among the least enthusiastic sounding. The song finds the group operating with a little bit of restraint—there is a somber quality to the way McDonald sings the song’s reflective verses, before giving in to a larger release with the way the chorus of the song soars for the heights. 

It is within the album’s first side where you find the most successfully executed songs where the group has embraced slowing things down, or at the very least, practicing restraint throughout an entire song, not just during a verse while waiting for the release of a chorus. Running With The Hurricane’s third song, “One Wink at A Time,” is the first track that slows the unbridled momentum down. Featuring both a gentle delivery from McDonald on her vocals, as well as the way she strums the acoustic guitar, there is a compelling interplay that unfolds through the whole song, taking place as her guitar and the bass, do not so much fight sonic real estate, but continue to weave and dance around each other beautifully. 

“Screaming Planet,” paced similarly to “One Wink,” closes out the album’s first half, layering the bass, acoustic and electric guitars, and creates a woozy sensation as it opens—Thompson’s drumming comes in later on, and helps the push the song to where it begins to slowly build in emotion, then takes off as McDonald delivers the song’s heartfelt, and heartbreaking, final verse—“I’ve been running ‘round the world, but I always come back—been seeing other girls, but I always come back. I’ve loved and I’ve learned, but I always come back. And I’ll tell you I won’t, but I always come back.”


The first time McDonald admits to “double texting” somebody, it’s in the song “Blue.” And in the way she sings the line, it’s like she is simply stating a fact, albeit a self-deprecating one. 

Phone in my hand,” she begins, her slow, Australian drawl backed by the strummy guitar in the song creating the twang that runs throughout Running With The Hurricane. “Still checking if you called. I’m double-texting. No—I’ve never been cool. And I’ll burn that bridge when I get to it. Yeah, I’m on fire.”

The second time McDonald admits to “double texting” somebody is in the album’s second half, on the song “Jealous.” And in the way she sings the line, it’s less like she is stating a fact, and more of an admission that she knows she’s doing something she shouldn’t, but cannot help herself. 

I want your attention,” she sings near the end of “Jealous.” “Still double texting like I’ve got nothing left to lose. It’s just who you are—not giving too much away. I’ll take your scraps as if they’re food.”

And it’s a small detail, but an important one— before the release of Running With The Hurricane, when I was regularly listening to the singles, the usage of that act, and phrase—“double texting,” really struck me. I was surprised at something so specific, or idiosyncratic, would find its way into two songs, both released as singles, from this album. It was a small window into the overall themes that would reveal themselves when listening to the album as a whole, but the importance of this detail is just how intelligent (and intentional) it is to use a phrase like that twice, but to parse it out into songs that are on opposite ends of the record. 

The liner notes to Running With The Hurricane deserve to be poured over in terms of both finding the threads that connect each song—McDonald describes herself as being “on fire,” in both the album’s titular track and in “Blue,” and again, this is just, like, one example out of countless times her lyricism refers back to itself. And outside of how clever and borderline self-aware Running With The Hurricane is lyrically, it is also an extremely human record. 

And perhaps I maybe should not return to this quote as often as I should, but something in the past I have used as a metric for when an album really captures a certain essence, is this quote from David Foster Wallace—“Fiction’s what it is to be a fucking human being.” And the more I have sat with Running With The Hurricane, the more I think about that quote, and how, at its core, it is about being a fucking human being—there are incredible highs, musically (of course), but also lyrically—it isn’t all self-effacing, pleading and melancholic reflections on love. 

But, those highs are starkly contrasted against terrible lows.

And we—all of us—are navigating those, and not even trying to find a balance between the two poles, but just some kind of manageable place in between.


A song, when you think about it, is a finite thing—a very clear beginning and end. 

But, within those boundaries, if a song is really special—and I think you might understand the kind of songs I am talking about—there is something created in the space that forms between the beginning and end—and in that space, the song has the potential to become infinite. 

If a song is really special, or powerful, or impactful, it also creates that feeling within the listener. 

It’s the kind of feeling when something is much bigger, and more important, than itself. 

The kind of feeling of something that lives on, and continues to grow, even when you aren’t listening to this song—you still feel this way when the song continues replaying within your mind. 

Sometimes, as an album is ending, there is little, if any resolve to be found—and often, if that is the case, that was the artist’s intent all along. And I stop short of saying Running With The Hurricane is an album such as that because there is no real resolution for the largest themes that run throughout—the visceral longing that causes someone to clutch a phone, waiting for it to ring, or sending multiple texts in a row. 

If there is some to be found here, the resolve is in the admission there are, despite your disbelief at the very notion, and despite how very difficult it can be, opportunities for change, and growth. 

There is nothing else on Running With The Hurricane quite like its closing track, “Sing Your Heart Out.” 

Camp Cope may, in fact, never make another song like it again on any subsequent albums, and that is okay—they’ve done it once, and in its breathtaking perfection, it is something that would be practically impossible to try and replicate and have the same emotional gravity behind it. 

And as hyperbolic as this will sound, it is the kind of song that stops you in your tracks, taking a hold of your full attention as it unfolds—it is without a doubt one of the finest, most devastating songs of this year, and among the most powerful I have heard in my lifetime. 

“Sing Your Heart Out” works in two parts—the first is performed by McDonald on the piano, with staggeringly gorgeous harmony vocals providing an emphasis on specific lyrics; the second, arriving shortly after the song passes the two-minute mark, shifts both the tone and direction for the two minutes that follow bringing the song to an end, with Thompson creating a slow and steady rumble with a thumping rhythm, and Hellmrich easily finding the spaces where the plucks of her bass strings fit in, the song begins to build, and build, until it reaches the point where it explodes—a flawlessly executed detonation of emotion, creating a beautiful, tumbling, cathartic release.

Within the last few years, not often, but often enough that I am sure it is something I have written about, or written into a sprawling reflection on an album, is the idea of love—specifically the different kinds of love there are, and specifically the idea of platonic love. 

And the reason I bring this up now, again, is because “Sing Your Heart Out” is, at its core, a love song—but not in the way you think when you hear that description, and lyrically, with even as tender of a display as it winds up being, it’s written with enough ambiguity that, as McDonald, herself sings in the space that forms between the first part, and the second, “There’s so much love—so many different kinds of love.” 

The best way to describe “Sing Your Heart Out” is by saying it is a song about the affection, or even the admiration, you have for another person—your relationship with that person is left up to the interpretation of the listener. 

Love, regardless of if it is romantic or platonic, is not easy, and the difficulties that come from opening your heart up to another person is the conceit to “Sing Your Heart Out”—if the album as a whole is Camp Cope finding that balance between tension and release, musically, in this one song, it’s about finding the balance of tension and release within a friendship, or a partnership, where you are both giving enough without taking too much.

There is so much love, so many different kinds of love,” McDonald sings right before the song finds its way into the ending. “And I’ll take you on, I’ll give you everything I’ve got—baby, sing your heart out.” 

As the musical shift begins, with the percussion and bassline coming in, she delivers part of the song’s next line as if it’s still a part of the one before it—“You are not,” she sings before taking a huge breath. “You are not your past, not your mistakes, not your money, not your pain,” McDonald sings, her voice slowly growing in power before the song explodes with the howling, impassioned mantra of “You can change, and so can I.”

And there is, of course, the emotional and extremely personal heft in McDonald’s lyrics, and the way she goes for it vocally, that makes this song as impactful as it is, but it is also in the song’s intelligent arranging—the delicate sparsity of its first half, then the pummeling torrent of its second. And within both of those spaces, after it begins, and right through the final, screamed “You can change,” as the music stops, lies the place where it becomes infinite—moments of beauty that are almost just too much to handle. 


Running With The Hurricane is the kind of album that needs to be heard to be believed—so thoughtful, articulate, and impressive that, as I am on the cusp of 4,000 words, I feel like I should mention how intimidating and overwhelming it was, at times, to wrap my head around the album itself and all of my feelings about it. It’s the kind of album that, even with its arrival within the first three months of the year, has already secured a place as one of the best of 2022, and the kind of album that will be returned to—experiencing the enormous highs and seemingly bottomless lows—regularly. 

I often, in writing about music, will say something is “damn near perfect,” and this is one of those occasions—there is no real fatal, or tragic flaw to Running With The Hurricane, save for the fact that the group, as the album continues, perhaps gets too comfortable in the instrumentation and tone they’ve opted to work within, and some of the latter half of the second side begins to sound a little too similar. 

Growth, and change, are not easy things. Accepting that something is changing, and finding it within to grow along with that change can, and often does, take a herculean effort on your part.

I think of that line from “Twin Peaks: The Return,” where death is described as “just a change—not the end.

Running With The Hurricane is a record that, even in its accessibility and enormous shout-along moments, challenges you to sit within the uncomfortable feelings—something my therapist is often asking me to do. And in that discomfort, of looking within yourself or in trying to navigate the love you may feel for another, there are the opportunities for growth and change.

There is a sliver of hope that Camp Cope howls within the titular track to the album that I began thinking about more and more as I sat with this album—“The only way out is up.”

Hope is no small thing,” my best friend said to me recently in an exchange we were having. And sometimes, hope, no matter how big or small it comes to you, is the thing you need to keep trying, regardless of how difficult, or impossible it seems.

You can change. So can I.

The only way out is up.

Running With The Hurricane is available now via Run For Cover/Poison City.