To start from scratch isn’t something that we often see when regarding bands that hold a long and memorable history. Formerly known as Box, Copalis has completely reinvented themselves.
Perhaps I should rewind a bit and give some background. All of these talented members went to my high school and I remember seeing them perform at the Old Firehouse or even (illegally) in parking garages in the suburbs of good ole Redmond. While I wish I could say I was good homies with the entire band, that would be a stretch of the truth. However, I grew up right across the street from the lead vocalist, Johnathan, and can recall running through the woods when we were 12 to going to prom senior year, and the many shows, songs and albums in between. I’ve written about people from my hometown before, or even friends of friends but it is something entirely different to write about friends and people you know and to be able to reflect on how far they’ve come.
With that minor side-note out of the way, Copalis brings a much darker and abstract feel than any of their previous work has. I remember Box always carrying upbeat, witty and alternative tunes to each show, but Copalis is the kind of band that I want to listen to at home, when I study, chill and anything in between. I liked Box because of the people I knew and the undeniable fact that each person had talent, but Copalis exercises it’s potential in a way that I do not think Box ever could.
Unlike bands that drop a new album with a completely altered sound in hopes of redirecting their style, the guys decided to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. Mitch (bass), said “We changed the name to give ourselves a different mindset and start over without our old songs”. Which, at it’s core, is exactly what the band accomplished. The biggest discrepancy between Copalis and Box is the increasing use of much slower and darker tempos, while relying far less on defined vocals and more on anything and everything abstract. Copalis, both the new band name and debut album title is derived from a beach in Western Washington, and after seeing the beach, Copalis is seamlessly able to match sound to sight.
Not often am I asked to write reviews, I mainly just virtually stalk Bandcamp or Soundcloud until something strikes me as notable. If I thought Copalis was okay or a waste of your time, I would have frankly said it. I don’t see these guys often so if I genuinely didn’t like this new sound of theirs I could have either verbally picked it apart or just ignored the request from the get-go. Just writing these few paragraphs was a challenge; for someone who runs a music blog you’d think I would be a little more articulate.
The bottom line is that Copalis seems to just be grasping their new, psychedelic and off-beat potential and the fact that this is their debut album has me itching for more. All I can hope is that Copalis will rock the suburb parking garages the same way Box did, and that I’ll be back home in Seattle to see it.
Favorite tracks: “Bumsteer Bummer”, “Thought You Were Cool”, “Bayside”