Action Camp paints with darker colors on “MA.” With their album of cover songs they show a wide range from the giddy playful “Give Me Back My Man” from the B-52s to the raw grit of the affecting “Adam Raised a Cain” by Bruce Springsteen. Throughout the album they utilize a sense of tension that binds the many varying approaches together. Physical at times these songs are deeply felt. Raw at times Action Camp opts for the more direct approach, simply letting nearly everything fall out excluding a single lonely guitar and their intimate vocals. By far the best part of the collection is Action Camp’s expressive vocals that appear to soar above the careful arrangements.
Capturing the growl and defiance of PJ Harvey’s “Meet Ze Monsta,” Action Camp do the song justice. With incredible strength they propel the song forward. Easily the highlight of the album is the B-52s “Give Me Back My Man” where they prove to be quite nimble, utilizing a surf-rock vibe throughout the song. Nicely embodying an industrial edged grungy sound is the colossal cover of Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box”. Percussion hits hard as the anxiety in the song is palpable. Ending the album on a tender note is their take on U2’s classic “With or Without You.” Airy at first they let the song build up before it blooms, with the chorus soaring towards the heavens.
Shadowy and dreamy, Action Camp’s “MA” creates their tributes with the utmost reverence. Catch Action Camp this Friday for their final performance of the year at Smiling Moose with Egomyth, Odd Hours from Detroit and Atlas. The 21+ show starts at 8:30 for $8.