Copilots is a band out of Vancouver. It’s been a while since I’ve been given a Canadian band to review, at least it feels that way, so I’m happy to be featuring some of my home and native land’s music. They are an avant-garde type progressive rock band, almost straight out of the textbook too, with trance inducing rhythms and strange effects placed in almost every corner. In June Copilots released their most recent album Sunstroke.
Sunstroke is just seven songs long, but those seven songs equal to fifty-four minutes all together. Only one song on the album is under six minutes, the rest are long pieces of art rock in which Copiliots try and show their unique song writing methods. This doesn’t come across in the opening two tracks for me. Both The Falls and Come To Life make up for twenty minutes, almost twenty-one minutes and in all of those minutes I don’t really hear a hook or a common thread to keep my attention. I do hear some Neil Young influence in The Falls in particular (as well as some other tracks on Sunstroke) but even that doesn’t really change my opinion. Sure the bands ability to play such different styles all in the same track so tightly is impressive, but the songs just don’t materialize into anything more than background music for me.
That’s just getting the negative out of the way because I feel after Come To Life ends, Sunstroke seems to really begin. It starts with that one and only under six minute song Mountain of Time. This is more of a standard indie rock track, but a hell of a catchy one at that. It shows first time listeners that Copilots aren’t just out to complicate and trip out our minds. This is followed by the four remaining long songs.
I enjoy these remaining tracks more than the opening two. The Possible has a good riff that it keeps going back to and Leaving Unknown and When It’s New both have catchy choruses that they go back to every now and then, but most importantly, Copilots make sure all four tracks are multiparted journeys, just like the opening two tracks, only I find these parts to be catchier. My personal favourite is Defences, I feel it has the strongest moments out of just about every track on Sunstroke.
Listening back on Copilots older stuff, I see they haven’t always been ones to release uber long track filled albums. Their previous albums mostly had regular length songs with the odd long track, all of which varied in tempo and displayed some true avant-garde moments. On Sunstroke, Copilots seem to have thrown their original plan out the window and stuck to all lengthy complex tracks.
Those who can comprehend these songs would enjoy them. Hell, there are people out there who I bet would really get and dig The Falls and Come To Life, but for a general audience, I feel Copilots have gone in the wrong direction. While I see the light in most of Sunstroke, I can see some more simple minded listeners feeling the songs sound too similar to one another. It’s obvious that Copilots have improved greatly in the six years between this release and their previous album Escape Through The Trees, but I feel this strong offering could have been executed differently.
“When It’s New” – I wanted to pick a long track, instead of Mountain of Time, for those who haven’t heard the album. I chose what I think is the best of these long songs. Not my favourite, but the best. Its explosive chorus is enough to intrigue listeners, and if they can appreciate the track like I do then they have a good chance of liking the whole album.
6.5 (Out of 10)
|2||Come to Life||11:07|
|3||Mountain of Time||3:37|
|6||When It’s New||6:26|