One of Peach Tree Rascals‘ greatest strengths as a group, particularly in sound, is their ability to make every moment feel like the wind-in-your-hair scene of a road trip. Camp Nowhere, the debut EP by group members Dominic Pizano, Issac Pech, Tarrek Abdel-Khaliq, Joseph Barros and Jorge Olazaba, is no exception, blending their most fresh and eclectic sounds into a project that feels encyclopedic in nature. It’s the quintessential introduction to PTR, providing something fresh for every listener — day one fans and “Mariposa” entrants alike.
“OOZ,” the first track on the EP, provides a light, head-bobbing entrance to the world of Camp Nowhere. Much like its retro, animated visual, the track feels tailored for modern nostalgia, jumping straight out of an ’80s TV show title sequence. Lyrically, it is one of the strongest on the EP, with an string-savvy sound built to dance to and a catchy chorus meant for memorizing: “The kind of drug I would never do/ I fell in love with the way she moves/ I took a trip and I found the truth/ At the end of the day, love is all the same.”
Standout tracks on the EP include “LEAVE ME” — a highlight for Pech, in particular — “JoJo,” a smooth, uplifting song that feels like PTR’s closest nod to traditional pop music, and “Change My Mind,” one of the EP’s singles and a high-energy take on living carefree. No one song outweighs the others, which is likely a result of the mostly intricate placement of the track list; PTR managed to boldly showcase each member’s strengths within the limits of a short-form project with impressive lyricism, vocals, visuals and production that highlights their versatility as creatives.
Taking a look back at a pre-Camp Nowhere song like “I’m Sorry,” there remains a clear throughline with the camaraderie present in their visuals, emphasizing the interaction among the group members. In each video, the closeness of the group is evident, and that energy carries into music videos like that of “LEAVE ME.” That consistency radiates visual warmth across PTR’s already serotonin-boosting discography, making them not only a group with a tight grasp on musicality, but an extremely likable one, at that.
It’s almost hard to believe that the EP only spans across little more than 22 minutes, because it truly seems designed to take the listener on a ride through the group’s evolution. By the time listeners get to “papá” — one of the EP’s shorter tracks, blending soft vocals with a more folk-based sound while taking on emotional distance — and “Pockets,” the second to last song on the EP, it feels like a heart wrenching farewell as the project lulls to a delicate finish. “Pocket full of sunshine/ Flowers help me find my way before the sunrise/ Pocket full of sunshine/ Tell me that you’re on the way and I’ll be alright.”
“Oh Honey! (I Love You),” though vocally and lyrically strong, can feel misplaced as the EP’s outro; from one perspective, the song feels more like an interlude that would have suited well in separating “JoJo” (one of the EP’s strong, slow burns) from the upbeat “Change My Mind.” Alternatively, the track’s first line also creates the perfect space for closure: “Will you remember my name?/ I’ve gone away but I’ll be back again.” Whether it’s viewed as a devoted love song or a letter to listeners, “Oh Honey! (I Love You)” gives way to a sweet finish to the debut project of a group who planted their roots online, but is certain to make waves on stages.
The group has famously never played a live show, but they will be entering the (fingers crossed!) post-pandemic world with strong material in the form of Camp Nowhere. A warm welcome into their world, Camp Nowhere signals that PTR has formally arrived — and their vision is compelling.