I really hate gardening. It’s a lot of work for a small payoff, which entails nothing more than something pretty to look at. A lot of people enjoy the sweaty and gritty labor of digging around, planting seeds and plants and purging their garden of unwanted fiends like weeds, but it’s simply not my thing. I don’t care how much of a breathtaking sight the final product is; you may have the most beautiful flowers in your neighborhood, but not only am I not an outdoors person in general, but I find gardening terribly boring so I don’t consider the effort required to get said flowers is worth what you get out of it. Consider the album Eat, Sleep, Repeat
by alt/indie artist Copeland: it boasts a pretty remarkable assortment of flowers, or sounds, but it takes them too long to grow through very bland and mediocre quality soil, or songwriting. Fortunately for you, the need for bad analogies ends here.
The music of Copeland can be described as dreamy, relaxing, beautiful and at times even captivating, but it can also be described as straightforward, standard alt rock/indie that can sometimes get repetitive. These have been the criticisms of their past albums, but the slightly more experimental Eat, Sleep, Repeat
proves more difficult to pin down as having any one extremely notable flaw. There’s an assortment of moods, tempos and even instruments utilized throughout the record. All of the new elements Copeland brought with this album more often than not end up working, but they only add a certain amount to their still average songwriting. It can still get difficult to wade through boring songs in order to recognize their charm; they have plenty going for them, but in the end, most of the songs just don’t posses enough of a core to be memorable. There are some exceptions, like opener “Where’s My Head” with its instantly likable xylophone, the single “Control Freak” that relies on a driving beat and memorable piano line, and the more energetic songs like “I’m Safer on an Airplane” and “I’m a Sucker for a Kind Word”; all of these songs have at least one thing that make them stand out against the rest of the album. However, “Love Affair” is undoubtedly the best song, as well as the album’s centerpiece; the first half is a beautiful piano ballad, and the second is an upbeat jazz number complete with a brass section. What all of the songs have, regardless of quality, is Aaron Marsh’s soft, soothing vocals to maintain a warm and friendly tone throughout the album.
There aren’t many negatives about the record, but I’m afraid there are more neutral aspects than there are positive; the already average songwriting endorses too many moments that just drag on, but at least the music is never bad
. Nifty instruments and arrangements aside, Eat, Sleep, Repeat
offers nothing more than a standard alt rock affair; chances are if you’ve heard of Copeland, you’ve already heard everything they do from listening to other alt and indie artists. Now, things are a bit different in their market, which is the Christian one; there really aren’t any other artists of the like in that field, so Copeland rather easily stands out in that regard. With this album, they attempted to stand out more by increasing the experimentation with their sound, but it just ends up being another Copeland album: standard alt rock songs with good vocals and nothing more.
The ultimate result is essentially an alt rock record with indie flair that is a little too ambitious for its own good. While the sound created is generally very pleasing and relaxing, too much time is spent wandering through uninspired dreamy passages for it to come off as seamless or natural; there were many moments with strange little elements that seemed to only be there because they were strange, and the ultimate outcome is a cluttered album. The clutter this creates is not enough to hide the fact that this is a standard alt/indie record and nothing more at its core. This may prove untrue to someone unfamiliar with the genre, as it did to me when I first heard it, but when you dive deeper into this corner of music, usually finding that there’s much better out there, the mediocrity of records like this one becomes more apparent. However, this is really the only thing that can be considered a flaw as the music itself is solid; it’s dreamy, it has a likable indie flair, it’s usually relaxing and it’s always friendly. There are also a few pretty notable standouts here, so in the end, the effort of trudging though Eat, Sleep, Repeat
’s predictable and sometimes boring (but never poor) songwriting is rewarded with rather delightful soundscapes and moods.