Album Review - Cooper's "Cooper"

By Derek Cooper

Australia’s Kate Cooper has a wealth of musical experience under belt. Having come from Iron On and two-piece An Horse, she has shared the stage and the road with the likes of Death Cab for Cutie, The National, Sleater Kinney, Silversun Pickups, Alkaline Trio, Manchester Orchestra, to name a few. Hell, Sara in Tegan & Sara is her A&R. So there’s that. Even with all that musical repertoire, this album was still never going to see the light of day until Cooper met singer/producer Tim Meyers in LA in 2012. The ten songs on this album were written in ten days, and here we are.

The most distinct thing about this album that immediately comes to mind is the happy-go-lucky summer vibe that recalls the first Cults or Givers albums. The feel good tunes are deeper than many current acts doing the same thing, however. There is a depth of sincerity that carries this album further than many of its posturing contemporaries. This is most interestingly displayed with the opener "Heaviest of Weights". This moody, pensive opener shows that this isn’t the boilerplate, sunny-side-up summer tunes as of late, but capable of delivering the same emotional force and introspective writing of Cooper’s previous works.

Stand out songs are the single "This Year", an honest look at the optimism of life. The refrain “This year // has been the best and the worst year // I hear // It’s all uphill from here” will have you humming for weeks. I promise. I wouldn’t lie to you. "Forward" keeps the momentum going, with sing-along vocal harmonies and an anthemic “We are moving forward” mantra. "Novocaine" slows things down with an alternative soft/loud dynamic and echoey vocal effects. "Let's Get Together" has a funky hook and fun synth pattern. "Soft and Slow" is a breakaway tune, again showcasing the underlying melancholy capable in even the brightest summer days. Synths echo faintly of old MGMT and the repetitive “Soft and slow, soft and slow, I think you know, soft and slow” will be your go-to refrain for quite some time.

In all, Kate Cooper’s solo debut shows more production value than previous band efforts, and a new level of catchy ingenuity and maturity. You can check out the video for "This Year" here.
 

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