Cam Girl – Untucked Review

Punk has never been my favorite genre. I am not sure if it’s the rough and ready vocals that often help define the punk sound, or if it’s just something about punk songwriting that doesn’t enthuse me. Either way, it’s something I struggle to love. That is, until I went to my first Cam Girl show only about a year ago. Based practically in my backyard in Asheville, NC, Cam Girl’s hypermelodic brand of pop-oriented punk struck the right balance between innumerable hooks, swaggering attitude, and uninhibited energy. I was sold, and jumped at the chance to cover their debut record, Untucked. Prepare yourselves for a wet and wild ride!

While many punk-oriented bands focus on sociopolitical issues, economic inequity, and the like, Cam Girl’s message is singular: a celebration of all things sex. Untucked aims to invite its audience to embrace consensual pleasure in all of its forms and, while most of the lyrics draw inspiration largely from the band members’ personal experiences with sexual awakening, the end goal is simply to enthusiastically love your partner(s), not take yourself too seriously, and have some fun! To that end, vocalist Lily Larceny fits the prompt to a tee, a suggestive upward inflection characterizing her powerful, pop-punky delivery. Guitarists Ashe Cosette and Ethan Martin engage in marvelous axe-wielding duels, alternating between infectious riffs (“Thrill of the Chase”), addicting leads (“Untucked”) and shreddy solos (“Teenage Vampire”) to maximize engagement and exhibit fearless variety. Meanwhile, the rhythm section—comprised of bassist Tsarina Eve1 and drummer Erin Stagg—drives the record inexorably forward, exuberant drum patterns and fills (“Oops!…I Did It Again”) coordinating with low end rumble from the bass to achieve excellent pacing from start to finish. The formula is effective, and the end product is unique, self-realized, and cohesive.

At a lithe and lean twenty-nine minutes spread over ten songs, Untucked leaves me lusting for more with every spin, and its best moments edge me to the point of no return every time I come back. Those ecstatic peaks manifest near constantly in all-around killers “Stick Shift” and “Teenage Vampire.” The former’s bright riffs and spine-tingling backing vocals excite me to no end. Meanwhile, the unforgettable and infinitely repeatable chorus to “Teenage Vampire” branded itself in my brain for the foreseeable future. Additionally, “Pussy Strikes Back,” “Packin’ Heat (Colt 45)” and “Untucked” all nail the balance between punk and pop sensibilities, packed to the brim with tight guitar work, crowd-rousing gang shouts, and seamless melodies.  Matt Langston’s roomy and clear mix and master enhances the experience further. Guitars sound full-bodied and warm, drums and cymbals pop and splash with perfect tones, and the low end throbs pleasantly throughout. Even the tiniest details like rapid-fire snaps of sticks on a snare rim; cute little electronic effects; and the sounds of fingers gliding across fretboards shine thanks to Langston’s professional touch.

My complaints with Untucked are few and far between and largely relate to Cam Girl’s potential for growth more so than missteps. Take their cover of Britney Spears’ “Oops!…I Did It Again,” for example. Representing her strongest and weakest performance at once, this song gives me a distinct impression that Lily Larceny possesses the pipes to belt far beyond the somewhat one-note punk style (see “Pussy Strikes Back”). But she needs a touch of finesse to reach that next level. She’s got power, she’s got confidence, and she’s got charisma, but securing that extra vocal control would push the entire act over the edge instantaneously. Elsewhere, a couple of songs, such as “Barely Legal” and “Stroke of 12,” lack the same x-factor of Untucked’s best. Here it appears that one or more players inexplicably refrained from showing off their ample talents as confidently as they had elsewhere on the record. This poses an issue because an album as short and sweet as this needs each and every moment to pack a punch. Holding back anywhere, even for just a moment, dulls that impact.

Nitpicks aside, Untucked is a triumph—especially for an unsigned, self-supported act. The level of unbridled spunk gushing from these tunes haven’t met their match in the house of Ken in quite some time, and I have the most difficult time putting them down. If this debut is just the foreplay to a hot and heavy career, I can’t wait to watch as Cam Girl comes fully Untucked!

Rating: Very Good!
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Self-Released
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: April 19th, 2023

Show 1 footnote

  1. who split soon after recording her parts.
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