Music

Copeland: In Motion

Emily Zemler

Emo doesn't always have the best connation, but luckily, on Copeland's sophomore effort the term simply illustrates evidence of emotional depth.


Copeland

In Motion

Label: The Militia Group
US Release Date: 2005-03-22
UK Release Date: 2005-04-04
Amazon affiliate
Amazon
iTunes

Singer Aaron Marsh sounds awfully lovelorn on Copeland's new album as he wails: "Whoa ... your love is in motion, / And it's spinning me around, / Whoa ... my heart is in motion, / For the movement that's in you." The album (whose title is assumably procured from the aforementioned lyrics), is brimming with songs about love, longing and loneliness, causing one to presuppose that Copeland -- a band with an unfortunate emo connotation surrounding them -- is actually living up to that reputation. Luckily for both the band and the listener, Copeland doesn't sound emo -- Marsh's voice is devoid of generic whininess and the music resounds with indie rock sensibilities far more mature than those harvested on the Warped Tour.

A band's sophomore effort is generally supposed to reveal evidence of growth on the part of the band, both lyrically and musically, and, generally, In Motion does this -- at least musically. Lyrics like "If you fall in love, / Fall in love and hold nothing back" don't exactly echo with poetic grace, and on most of the songs the simple sentiments Marsh moans about are revealed through equally simple choruses. But Marsh's angst-ridden voice exhibits such feeling that the simplicity of his words goes almost unnoticed.

The opening track, "No One Really Wins", however, slams the band onto the pinnacle of sophomore perfection. Combining well-crafted lyrics (like "In the fight between my heart and mind, / No one really wins this time") with driving melodies that wax and wan between heavy and soft, "No One Really Wins" proves that the Copeland foursome has a burgeoning talent for songwriting.

Although Copeland blow their metaphorical wad on the album's first song, a few of the album's other tracks come in at a second close to such a grand opening climax. "Pin Your Wings" resonates with a kind of catchiness usually reserved for pop bands and "Sleep", in all its lyrical starkness, aptly captures the universal sense of isolation that can creep up on anyone lying awake, alone, in the night.

For the most part, Copeland seems to have enjoyed considerable growth as a band since the release of their debut, 2003's Beneath Medicine Tree. Last year's EP, Know Nothing Stays the Same, was met with critical esteem and had fans eagerly awaiting the release of In Motion. The album is not perfect, and like any true sophomore effort it showcases a band who require a certain amount of development, particularly when it comes to their lyrics. As second albums go, however, this is a solid one, revealing that the fans' anticipation was certainly warranted.

The true power of In Motion -- and the primary reason it is so solid -- lies in Copeland's ability to drag the listener along the gauntlet of their emotions with them. When Marsh bemoans his "tired heart" on "You Have My Attention", the listener has no alternative but to grieve for their own tired heart along with him. And when he begs his lover to "Change if you want, but don't you go and change for me" on the opener, one can barely restrain oneself from crying out in assurance that they won't.

The term "emo" has essentially become devoid of meaning nowadays, containing only remnants of what it originally meant and offering more of an insult than a benign genre classification. But if emo, disregarding its derisive overtones, means that a band both exhibits and evokes a rollercoaster of emotion in their music, then truly, Copeland is an emo band. And that, at least in this case, is meant as the highest of compliments.

7

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image