COPES - Never Better Review

Copes, the alt-rock trio based out of Baltimore Maryland has released their debut album, Never Better back in March of 2017. Grunge meets punk meets garage rock in this quick, hard-hitting, and emotional journey that spans 7 tracks and is actually a lot of fun. From the moment the record begins to its final notes, Never Better’s Nirvana, Green Day, and Pixies influences are undeniable and take you back to genre of music that has all but disappeared since the late 90’s. It’s a refreshing yet nostalgic sound that permeates the entire album and helps make Copes a real delight to listen to. 

Copes is comprised of Sebastian Pinto (guitar/vocals), Vinnie Burke (drums), and Alec Pugliese (bass) and is the embodiment of the DIY underground scene of days past. From hand making a lot of their own merch, to even recording their own records, Copes is about as authentic as they come, and the listener can definitely feel that. Unlike a lot of DIY acts however, Copes never feels cheap or rushed, but rather polished with just enough grit around the edges. It’s very clear that Never Better is the product of a lot of passion and dedication. Nothing here is particularly groundbreaking or extraordinary, but the beauty behind Copes is that it doesn’t need to be.

Never Better never tries to be anything other than what it is at its core; an alternative grunge album that pays homage to the acts that inspired it, and that’s exactly the reason is works so well.

Never Better Tracklist:
1. Never Better
2. Rights
3. Vertigo
4. Ghost
5. Drop Out
6. Crutch
7. I’m Gone
 

 

 

 

The album starts off with riveting drums that almost feel like surf rock in the track “Never Better.” These drums surprisingly, yet very effectively, lead into a classic grunge riff on guitar that has the perfect tone and feel to it followed by the angsty vocals of Pinto. It’s a solid opening track that introduces us to what Copes is all about and never overstays its welcome.

The next track “Rights” shows us a bit of a softer side of the band, but is quickly offset by a heavy, loud, and dirty chorus that serves as a fantastic track that shows us Copes’ dynamic. Moving on,  “Vertigo” is the first glimpse of the fun, pop-punk side of the group. It’s a fast, rhythmic, and catchy song and is one of my personal favorites off the record.

The following track “Ghost” is the polar opposite of the previous one. It’s classic grunge meets a bit of emo, with soft emotional verses and incredibly loud and heavy choruses with pseudo screaming vocals. “Ghost” is a fantastic track and is filled with moody ambiance in all the right ways. The following track, “Drop Out” while a solid song, was ultimately forgettable for me. It’s of the same ilk as “Vertigo” which isn’t a bad thing, but for such a short album, these 2 songs sound too similar to one another for them both to be memorable. 

“Crutch” almost seems like Copes attempt at a Weezer song. It’s a little off-kilter, but that’s what makes it appealing. A fun and inviting dance beat, and bright guitar riff lay underneath the entire track and provide a cool juxtaposition to the capricious sounding vocals. The finale of the record “I’m Gone” is as fitting an ending to an album as anyone could hope for. It feels big and epic and ultimately gives the listener a feeling of closure that seems to be absent in a lot of music today for some reason or another. It’s pounding beat gives it a very simple feeling, but still manages to satisfy the need for variety through its subtle changing vocals and guitar solos. 

Never Better is a good album. It’s a familiar sound that seems to have gone missing from the music scene presented in a fresh, authentic, and most importantly fun way. Copes is a band that knows their strengths and plays to them rather than try and be something that feels forced and in-genuine. These are quick, well written songs that know where they come from. They respect the icons and legends that inspired them without ever sounding like just a knockoff, and it makes for a really enjoyable record.

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