How does a trio from Ohio unleash a song on the world that sounds like all the hippest, coolest music to come out of New York City since the mid-’60s? It’s a good question and exactly what Caamp has achieved with “Officer Of Love,” their first release since last year’s By & By. The song evokes memories of every slightly “underground” NYC band going back to The Velvet Underground and extending through Freedy Johnston, while maintaining a vibe and sound that is totally 2020s, while also reflecting songwriter Taylor Meier’s acknowledged influences such as Blind Pilot, Justin Vernon, Ray LaMontagne and Tom Petty. In other words, it’s uniquely Caamp.
Caamp started off as a duo when Meier dropped out of Ohio University and convinced his former high school bandmate, Evan Westfall, to join in him in his folly, pursuing a career as a band. Shortly after, in 2016, Caamp released a self-titled album that picked up tens of millions of plays on Spotify, leading to a series of tours opening for Rainbow Kitten Surprise. That experience gave the band “a peek behind the curtain,” as Meier says, showing them what bigger shows were like, as compared to the small gigs they were used to.
“We were able to expand our sound, too,” adds Meier. “People liked the rock moments as much as the very quiet folk element. After that, we got some electric guitars, plugged them in and wrote some really cool songs.” With the band’s sound filling out, Caamp went on to record 2019’s By and By, which scored a Triple A radio hit with “Peach Fuzz.”
Fortunately, while the band was on the road in the summer of 2019, they decided to record “Officer Of Love,” which they’d been having fun with playing live. When the lockdowns came, canceling a sold out tour as well a run opening for The Lumineers and co-headline tour with Trampled By Turtles, this was sitting in the can waiting to be released. Based on the immediate airplay, with “Officer Of Love” on the brink of JBE’s Top Ten