Copeland

Ixora

Written by: TL on 10/12/2014 18:53:27

To anyone that listened to Copeland before they went away following 08's "You Are My Sunshine", chances are songs like "Should You Return" and "The Day I Lost My Voice" are etched into the memory irremovably, jumping to mind at times when coming upon new hazy, indie-type music and giving off a sting of nostalgia. Fortunately then, the Florida group revealed this year that they too had been bitten by the reunion bug, announcing their plans to release a comeback album which arrived at the end of November in form of "Ixora".

Sitting at the very fringes of Rockfreaks.net's coverage area, "Ixora" - which is the band's sixth full length overall - presents a rich sound that floats in a mist between soft rock, mature pop, songwriter and electro, with the guide through the eclectic soundscape being singer Aaron Marsh, whose delicate and melodious voice is second to none, whether appearing clean or aided by harmonies or Imogen Heap-style dubs, and whether singing in careful falsetto or hazy normal voice. His expressive performance narrates a voyage surrounded by careful measures of fingerpicked acoustic guitar, piano melodies, classic strings, clarinet, saxophone, blooming krautrock synths and electronic beats and bass tones.

They key to "Ixora" though, is that the album is a demonstration of fine composition, where each track is a contrasting back and forth between Marsh's measured vocal work and beautiful arragement ideas that follow each other in succession, ebbing, flowing and ebbing again in an elegantly swirling dance. Take a highlight like "I Can Make You Feel Young Again", which paces through the night slowly, flashing blipping keys among ordinary electric guitar and bass in the beginning, and expanding dramatically when the tempo is halved and the strings come in towards the end.

Speaking of drama, nothing on the otherwise calm album is more dramatic than "Chiromancer", which jumps from verses where the instrumentation is mainly about lively rhythm, up to a sparkling electric guitar riff which backs Marsh's highest and clearest singing on the album. It's one end to a spectrum which has "Ordinary" sitting at the other end, demonstrating how it's can be just as impactful, if not more so, when the soundscape is dialed back to just Marsh and a traditional piano piece, really allowing the thought-provoking lyrics about romance and routine to catch your attention.

Another high point is "Have I Always Loved You?", which opens the album by establishing instantly how good Copeland are at making you hear their words as well as their melodies, and the lines about seeing someone "standing in the whitest dress I know" are candidates to stick as long as those old Copeland songs did. Furthermore, penultimate track "World Turn" also works wonders, progressing as a simple acoustic tune, until giving way to a soulful saxophone in the middle, where the listener can really hear the air being pressed through the instrument at the edge of the tones, giving a good indication of just how full and well-sounding "Ixora" also is as a production.

Overall, while it's tempting to sit and marvel about each little excellent detail present across the album's ten tracks, something must be left for listeners to discover on their own. So let it suffice to say that "Ixora" is impressively well-written, -performed and -recorded, and makes for an extremely pleasant listening session and a very welcome comeback for Copeland.

Download: Have I Always Loved You?, Ordinary, Chiromancer, I Can Make You Feel Young Again
For The Fans Of: Lydia, Bon Iver, Death Cab For Cutie, Charlie Simpson
Listen: facebook.com/copeland

Release date 24.11.2014
Tooth & Nail Records

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