Review Summary: Coping's debut release is short on originality and long on promise.
2010 was quite the year for so called “Kinsella” emo. The year saw the release of Snowing
’s “I Could Do Whatever I Wanted If I Wanted”, Grown Up
’s “More Songs”, and CSTVT
’s “The Echo and the Light”, among other notable releases. The year also marked the debut release from Coping, entitled “Lawndale Cassette”. This release admittedly offers little variation on the three bands mentioned above, but shows Coping to have a great command of their chosen style. Of course it is obvious they took much influence from the three bands previously mentioned, but they set themselves up to inherit the scene leading mantle these bands had, which didn’t take too long to happen with the demise of Snowing and Grown Ups in 2011. Lawndale is a promising start for the band, showcasing the potential they would later realize on their later releases.
As with many emo releases, the quality of the recordings leaves something to be desired, but it lends a charm to the six songs that compose Lawndale. Coping’s sound is indeed a bit rougher and more “punk” oriented than their contemporaries; they benefit from the added energy, making up for their lack of immediately endearing lyrics or outstanding guitar play. The band opens up with a lead in track, “Left Ear” a fine track that peaks with the fierce yelp of the singer and a cacophony of drums rolls and cymbal crashes. It’s an unnecessary though welcome gesture, as a short release such as this doesn’t need an introduction or even a breather.
“Croquet” is about beer and, well, croquet. No jokes were being made about the questionable lyrical quality. Still, it’s one of the better and more memorable songs on the album, peaking with shriek after shriek of “CROOOOOQUET!” “’95 Mariners” and “Mixed Horror Stories” comprise the third and fourth tracks on the cassette and continue in the vein of “Croquet”. Both are quite serviceable, though even after countless listens I still can’t quite remember how they go. No matter, every time I do listen to them I instantly remember them and smile fondly. “Robert Pershing Wadlow” is for my money the catchiest and lyrically best song on the album, delivering the line, “not the first time I lost a best friend” with devastating sincerity. Finally, “Seniors” closes out this release with a bouncing, jangling romp through hook after hook, even finding time for a little twinkling solo. The energy peaks on this track, and the cassette ends on a positive note.
Lawndale barely lasts fifteen minutes, leaving the listener wanting more. The band would deliver two years later, with their first and only LP “Nope”, reviewed by yours truly. “Lawndale Cassette” demonstrates Coping’s roots and the initial promise that was immediately apparent to early listeners.