Eat, Sleep, Repeat
Copeland is progressing just how a band should progress: Make an album, see what works, and see what doesn't. Improve upon your sound for the next record. And so on and so forth. With their latest release Eat, Sleep, Repeat, the Floridian band is continuing with that pattern. On 2003's Beneath Medicine Tree, the band (and especially lead singer Aaron Marsh) made a strong debut into the indie rock world, boasting hauntingly melodic songs with inspired lyrics and beautiful vocals. With 2005's In Motion, the band put their acoustics down and showed the music world that they could actually rock, trying out a more aggressive tone.
This time around, the guys are back with a very interesting album. The album features the great poetic lyrics that the band is known for, as noticed on “When You Thought You'd Never Stand Out”: In younger days, I'm stealing bases while my mother prays. Dreading to wake, longing for one more play.
Marsh's angelic vocals (at some points) are the best yet in Copeland's recorded history. The gentle falsetto he occasionally slips into will bring shivers to any listener. Oddly enough he seems to have a tone on this album that sounds frighteningly similar to that of Thom Yorke. Listen to the chorus of “Careful Now” which is very reminiscent of Radiohead's “Paranoid Android” and you'll see.
Aside from the vocals and lyrics which have always (generally) been strengths of Copeland's, the band seemed to use this album as a point of differentiation from the growing genre of indie-emo they encompass. With bands like Mae and This Day & Age gaining momentum, there is a need to prove one's distinction from the pack. Copeland half does this. There are several tracks that feature a very experimental song structure, similar to the sounds of Broken Social Scene. A more adventurous change in the band's sound is apparent on the aforementioned “Careful Now” with a raw complex bassline and entire orchestra of synthesizers and on “The Last Time He Saw Dorie” where Marsh's vocals are spliced with an electric piano, a guest female vocalist and a full horn section.
The two standout songs on the record come in the forms of one track that relays back to earlier Copeland and one that provides a glimpse of the band's future. The former is “Love Affair”, a simple and heart-wrenching ode that makes good use of Copeland's knack of making expertly written slow songs (it features a trumpet, flirtatious piano and even a cello section!). The latter is found in “I'm a Sucker for a Kind Word” where Copeland shows promise of branching out past the safe niche that they have for themselves in the indie rock world. Great lyrics, great vocals, great violins (!!!) are all here making one of the more up-beat songs on the entire album.
And thank all that is holy that this happened, because while Copeland writes beautifully, the album tends to get stale in its repeated melodramatic quietness. Now that's not to say that the songs (as a whole) aren't effective, because on their own they are great. But together, there is little differentiation between many of the tracks. Somberness infiltrates nearly every song here and while I am happy that the band started working with a more experimental sound, I can't help but wish that they took it a step further to help add some more variety to the record.
That aside, Copeland does write a beautiful damn song, some of the most sweetly written and performed tracks that I have ever heard. Any Copeland fan will fit in perfectly with its comforting sound. For others, it is just a question of whether or not they will be able to appreciate the genius intricacies of the record without becoming bored with the lack of significant variation.
Release date: October 31, 2006
Label: The Militia Group
Rating: 7.7 / 10
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