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The Ethreal Journey of Blushing - An Album by Copeland

After 2014’s Ixora, Copeland is back again with perhaps an even more impressive release. The now 3-piece band followed up with their newest album, Blushing, in what seems to be an evolution from their past. Where Ixora leaves off, Blushing picks back up to build a colorful, pastel, dream-like world filled with beautiful, instrumental composition and heartfelt lyrics to compliment. 

Blushing, released on February 15th, contains the typical Copeland sound that fans know all too well and amplifies that at least tenfold. The sections of strings—increased tenfold. The electronic synths—increased tenfold. The melodies and harmonies—well…you get what I’m saying. It’s almost as if Copeland turned up the knobs of each and every one of their specialties to reach an ultimate level of intimacy and authentic emotion. This can mainly be seen in songs such as, “Night Figures,” “On Your Worst Day,” and “Lay Here.”

“Night Figures,” in particular, is a musical embodiment of a conflict that slowly but surely continues to grow until it eventually snowballs into one, big outburst—a theme that seems to encompass the entire album. The song captures the melancholic vibe that vocalist, Aaron Marsh, emanates so well along with the presence of a lo-fi beat, score of strings, and a piano-based rhythm. “On Your Worst Day” and “Lay Here” follow suit with both songs creating an ethereal atmosphere that allows the listener to be swept away. The band does this so well throughout the entire album—inevitably allowing the listener to feel a sense of catharsis.

Sonically, Blushing is a beautiful ball of emotion, and this is what makes the album so great. However, what truly sets Blushing apart from Ixora, as well as the rest of their discography, is the presence of a concept—a concept that can be identified as soon as the first song, “Pope,” starts. The chorus begins with, “Would you be my love—Until I can prove that this world is not real—This world is not real.” The lines, “This world is not real,” are repeated consistently throughout the song along with small excerpts of a woman (presumably Marsh’s wife) saying, “Hey, hey, are you awake? You should probably get up and get going. I don’t want to be rushed.” This may seem bizarre at first to someone who just so happens to listen to the single—I certainly was. However, as you listen to the rest of the album, you begin to see what Copeland are doing.

The same woman can be heard again in the second to last song, “It Felt so Real.” The less than two-minute track starts off with her speaking in a gentle voice telling Marsh about a dream she had that involved him. In the dream, she speaks of them dancing amongst a group of people and music. But suddenly, the music stops, and the people disappear, leaving them to be the only ones present. When she tries to speak, all she can do is say Marsh’s name, which in turn causes him to smile as if he just “woke up.” Then, the same lines in “Pope” are spoken again with the words, “I don’t wanna be rushed. Did you dream about anything last night?” This track seems to allude to the fact that maybe Marsh has been dreaming the whole time throughout the entire album, and the second to last song is him finally waking up.

Other tracks give off a hazy vibe that ultimately creates a fever-dream state for the listener. “Suddenly” and “As Above, So Alone” have a heavy usage of a vocal decoder, which makes Marsh’s singing sound so much more disoriented—yet beautiful, still. Instrumental effects also contribute to the dreamy, almost nightmarish, concept Copeland creates. Songs like “Strange Flower” and “Waltz on Water” incorporate effects that range from high-pitched vocal samples to morse-code like synth pad patterns. All of these factors come together to create a feeling of a disoriented struggle—a feeling that can be compared to sleep paralysis or a really trippy, trip. 

With this release, Copeland show that they know how to master the art of creating a special space for their fans to experience beautiful art. The album definitely takes the listener on a journey and much is up for various interpretation. As for me, I see this album as a look at Marsh living in a dream world, trying his best to wake up—and he is ultimately only able to wake up with the help and presence of love. 

Article written by Jasmine Rodriguez for The Chicago Vibe.

Kelley Sloot