Upon receiving Copeland’s latest EP, a collection of cover songs mainly pulled from the fantastic time period known as the 80s, I just had to roll my eyes. The thought of more shitty cover songs made me cringe. Would it kill a band to take some time and put some thought into a unique song to cover? Cover songs by indie and punk bands are usually extremely rushed and sound so in the recording. For the most part, they are nothing special; just some sort of gimmick. How many bands can possibly cover “Take On Me”?
Yet as I peeked through the track listing, my eyes were rolling no more; they were actually quite surprised. Copeland takes some classic sundry songs from the 80s and interprets them with respectability. The diversity in the selection of songs was definitely a positive entity for this reviewer. The mixture of songs also sparked some nostalgia for yours truly. I just then kind of had a feeling that maybe this assortment of cover songs was going to be different. The songs chosen reminded me of my early days of watching videos on MTV. Yes little ones, back in the 80s, MTV played tons of music videos. So seeing Phil Collins’ “Another Day in Paradise”, Carly Simon’s, “Coming Around Again”, Billy Joel’s “She’s Always a Woman”, Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away”, and Stevie Wonder’s “Part Time Lover”, took me back to those days of watching those videos on the tube.
The first track on the album is a rendition of Phil Collins’ “Another Day in Paradise”. Right away, Copeland altered my pessimistic views on this practice in general. Their adoption of a slightly more up-tempo version of this song felt really good. It sounded well thought out, and well played out – nothing rushed about this outing. Some of the nostalgia rubbed off here as well. My mother was a huge fan of both Collins and Genesis, so hearing this song reminded me of my days driving in the car with my mom and her Phil Collins and Genesis tapes. What sounded good was how the song truly reverberated like the original but with Copeland’s distinctively personal stamp on the track.
That same sort of nostalgia soaked their version of Berlin’s, “Take My Breath Away.” This song reminded me of one of my favorite flicks from the 80s, Top Gun. Back in the day, this song had me wishing I was hot shot pilot Maverick because even where you’re a little man, that Kelly McGillis was a sure sight for sore eyes. This song is really well played again, as Copeland doesn’t try to change the song into something it is not, they merely spruce it up a tad, make their mark on it, and run with it.
It was perhaps a mistake to casually dismiss this EP as the same old junk. After a full listen, I realized that a band can find some sort of uniqueness to cover songs without altering the tunes entirely. Copeland dish out a very good EP that can flicker up the wistfulness of the past, and I think that if Phil Collins, Carly Simon, and Stevie Wonder were to hear these songs, they would really be impressed.
(The Militia Group)