Copeland
You Are My Sunshine


4.5
superb

Review

by Nathaniel Fritz USER (17 Reviews)
December 9th, 2008 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Everybody knows that you'd break your neck to keep your chin up.

Stumbling upon a new favorite album is always a magical experience replete with awe, wonder, whimsy, and any other gay adjective you want to throw in there, but the experience takes on added meaning when said album is released by a band you didn’t previously consider to be great. Such is the case with You Are My Sunshine and Copeland. The alt/indie rock band sprang out of the same Florida scene that produced Underoath and Anberlin and there are many (mainly the females on Absolutepunk.net) who consider Copeland’s debut album, Beneath Medicine Tree, to be a classic of the modern melodic rock scene because of its warm, inviting mid-tempo rockers and vocalist Aaron Marsh’s sensitive-guy persona. Personally, I thought Beneath Medicine Tree could maybe make for a decent One Tree Hill soundtrack but nothing more. Copeland did improve with their second album, In Motion, which picked up the tempo a little bit and wasn’t as reminiscent of a Lifetime TV movie, but I still considered them to be an inferior band to, say, Anberlin and Mae and the like. 2006’s Eat, Sleep, Repeat found the band branching out considerably from their base sound – far slower and more piano-driven with atmospheric instead of power-chord guitars, Copeland began to push themselves away from their Alternative Press contemporaries and more towards indie pop. While containing a few outstanding songs (“When You Thought You’d Never Stand Out” and the title track), much of Eat, Sleep, Repeat was just pleasantly benign – good music to play around the house, for sure, but not something that left an indelible impression in your mind.

You Are My Sunshine, Copeland’s first record under Tooth & Nail Records, basically picks up where Eat, Sleep, Repeat left off – if anything, it’s more melancholy and moody. However, YAMS hits harder in every possible facet – the sad moments are sadder, the happy moments are happier, the beautiful passages are prettier and so on. Aaron Marsh’s vocals still dominate the soundscape, but added little sonic flourishes throughout make the album far more interesting than anything Copeland has ever done. These flourishes are sometimes more obvious than others, such as the expansive string sections on “Should You Return” and “On the Safest Ledge”, but it’s often the quieter additions, such as the driving bass at the end of “The Grey Man” or the electronic programming on “Good Morning Fire Eater” and “Not Allowed”, that mark the improvement the band has made. They also break from their genre occasionally with great success, throwing a jazz bridge into the middle of the otherwise sparse “The Day I Lost My Voice” or adding a bassoon solo to the ten-minute closer “Not So Tough Found Out.” On top of that, guitarist Bryan Laurenson makes the best of every opportunity he gets, whether it be gritty rock-n-roll riffs (“What Do I Know?”) or beautiful, Explosions in the Sky-esque atmospherics (“Chin Up”, “Not So Tough Found Out”). While not terribly complex, YAMS is consistently beautiful, moving, and occasionally awe-inspiring.

But the best part of You Are My Sunshine is undoubtedly the vocals of Aaron Marsh, who has weeded out the inconsistencies of past efforts and become a truly outstanding vocalist. His uncannily high register (for a dude, at least) is angelic and remarkably soothing and pacifying. On past Copeland records, his voice would sometimes cross over the line of being delicate and simply fall under the category of “Pansy”, but experience and practice seem to have fixed that problem. And the results are stunning. Marsh balances the use of falsetto and normal singing to great effect throughout the disc, but he also beautifully layers his vocals, such as on the dreamy “Should You Return” or melancholy “Chin Up.” Put his vocals together with the gorgeous guest vocals of Rae Cassidy Klagstad and it’s quite possible that this is the best record of the year as far as vocals are concerned.

It’s tough to find flaws with You Are My Sunshine. Well, yes, the album title itself is kind of lame, but I learned to stop judging albums by their titles way back in 2006. There are a few tracks that could be deemed “filler,” but Marsh’s vocals are so good that it’s hard to care. There also isn’t a great deal of variation on the disc, but again, who cares? It’s like saying, “Hawaii’s climate doesn’t change enough” or “Jessica Alba is just too damn hot all the time” – I don’t really see a problem with it, personally. I just know that this record is thisclose to being perfect on mopey, rainy days when all you want to hear is pretty music that makes you feel better about being depressed.

Recommended Tracks:

Chin Up
Should You Return
The Grey Man
The Day I Lost My Voice (The Suitcase Song)
Not So Tough Found Out



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Comments:Add a Comment 
ToWhatEnd
December 9th 2008


3172 Comments


Personally, I thought Beneath Medicine Tree could maybe make for a decent One Tree Hill soundtrack but nothing more.
LOL! Great review. Easy to read, entertaining and informative. Heard this was a huge step up from their previous work.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
December 9th 2008


17222 Comments


Nice review. I just dont see the appeal in these guys. Same thing goes for Anathallo. I just dont get it.

roofi
December 9th 2008


959 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think if Marsh's vocals don't do anything for you, then it's really tough to get into them because he drives their sound so much. But yeah, I think this is way, way better than anything else they've done (though I do enjoy In Motion and Eat, Sleep, Repeat to an extent).

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
December 10th 2008


20857 Comments


Good review Roofi... Although, see if you can break up that large 1st paragraph. Maybe after the word "...persona".

foreverendeared
December 10th 2008


14678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

really great review. i was actually a bit disappointed in this upon first listen, but i'll give it another go

OffTheRadar
December 10th 2008


102 Comments


like the summary

reviews pretty good.

AlexTM510
December 26th 2008


1403 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Just read this Nice review =D

nice bassoon mention lol


their all really good songs but like 6 of these songs (1-3) (6-7) (11) are some of the most gorgeous songs ive ever heard.

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

roofi
December 26th 2008


959 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah for sure. I especially love the first three, they're just so amazing. I really, really, really want to see them live now.

LiveForMusic
January 19th 2009


64 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This sounds like something I'd love, gonna have to give this a listen.

AlexTM510
April 19th 2009


1403 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

their coming to Brooklyn tom.-im still on the fence about going. I have class but I might skip but blah idk.

roofi
April 19th 2009


959 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ha i skipped class to see them last week. they were amazing, it was definitely worth it

Knott-
Emeritus
April 19th 2009


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I used the summary line in a conversation with someone the other day. They now think I'm one of the cleverest people who have ever lived.

roofi
April 19th 2009


959 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

that's pretty much the best song ever, i've decided

Waior
May 9th 2009


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

"There also isn’t a great deal of variation on the disc, but again, who cares? It’s like saying, “Hawaii’s climate doesn’t change enough” or “Jessica Alba is just too damn hot all the time”"

Yeah, I wish I could use that in every review that describes a repetitive but awesome album.

Digging: Hey Rosetta! - Second Sight

LiquidVelvet
August 14th 2009


628 Comments


Should You Return pretty much blew my mind the first time I heard it.

Knott-
Emeritus
August 14th 2009


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Chin Up is amaaaaaaazing and this whole album is so damn CUTE.

Waior
August 14th 2009


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

That girl who does the guest vocals has an awesome, awesome voice. Reminds me a bit of Deb Talan.

Benjeh
November 4th 2009


17 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

pretty much every song is excellent. wowww.



AtavanHalen
November 4th 2009


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Goodbye, Copeland.

xoxoxo

foreverendeared
January 10th 2010


14678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm finally starting to fall in love with this album, about time



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