Campfire Girls – Delongpre

Campfire Girls

While most bands do not even get a first chance in the music business, Los Angeles’ Campfire Girls are currently getting their second. The band, which was signed to Interscope during the mid-90’s LA movement that sprouted bands like Weezer, only released a few singles and an EP before taking the downward spiral of drugs and fighting that plague so many groups. The Campfire Girls’ second chance came in the form of Stone Temple Pilots’ Scott Weiland who convinced guitarist Christian Stone to start recording again. Stone rounded up former Campfire Girls members Jon Pikus (drums) and Andrew Clark (bass), and the trio later added a second guitarist, Mike Semple, to the lineup. While they are preparing for their first “real” full-length album to be released later this year, the Campfire Girls have released Delongpre, an amalgam of songs recorded in the winter of 1994-1995 while the group lived together on Delongpre Street.
These tracks should have been the Campfire Girls first major release on Interscope, but it was around this point that the band began to disintegrate. With their upcoming release, it seems strange that they’ve chosen to not only release old material but also to release material that was spawned during such a rough time for the band. I’m not sure what the true purpose for putting out an album of eight-year-old songs – perhaps its cathartic for the band or maybe it’s supposed to be a glimpse back into what almost was and what could still be. I imagine it was the Campfire Girls resigning to Interscope that really prompted the excavation of the album that almost never was.
Because of the history surrounding this album, it’s hard to put this music’s circumstances aside while listening. These guys created a batch of maudlin tunes that seem to fit their intended decade better than the current one. They’ve got a certain lo-fi, distorted, gloomy quality that easily takes me back in the day. Stone’s vocals and lyrics are the biggest point of interest. The lyrics seem very autobiographical, and while many songs focus on the boy-girl game, there is still plenty of the spotlight left over for a tortured look into the less than elegant side of California life.
While Delongpre is probably a great boon for those who were a part of the mid-90’s LA indie scene, it really comes off as a collection of songs that had to be dusted off for release this fall. It’s not that the music is bad or that the band isn’t solid, I just get the overwhelming feeling that these songs are from a period in the band member’s lives best reflected on and quickly moved past. However, the Campfire Girls upcoming release could prove to be truly brilliant if the guys have learned from their past and used it as a stepping-stone to create some wonderful music. I think they have it in them, and I hope they put their second chance to good use.