Well, we made it to 2021. What a weird feeling. I’m trying to be hopelessly optimistic about what this new year will bring but we are a few days in and nothing has changed including my motivation to get anything done. My list of albums to review keeps growing even with my lack of motivation so I woke up this morning determined to knock out a couple of reviews and find some new music to soundtrack this new year. I blindly reached into my stack of albums to review and pulled out City Mouth’s ‘Coping Machine’. The cover shows a sad robot sitting at a beach under an umbrella. Although I can’t relate to the beach setting, I could relate to the sentiment it gives off and I am ready for whatever this album has to give me.
“Sinking” starts off this ten-song album and I was instantly hooked. “I think I’m becoming an asshole…”. Those are the first words of this album and, although I really hope I’m not becoming an asshole, I loved the way this hooked me. As the song plays on, City Mouth really comes into their sound. It’s a perfect blend of indie-rock, alt, and pop. They have an infectious beat while providing you with heartbreakingly real lyrics and that combination is one of my favorites when it comes to music.
“Sanity For Summer” continues with the same vibe of “Sinking” but with more of an anthemic sound to it. The sound of this band is huge and it instantly made me miss live shows more than I already do. The dancy element of this track had me grabbing the closest cat (sorry Artie) and dancing around my dining room with a sense of joy that I really needed to kick this year off in the right way. Although the title track, “Coping Machine”, changed the vibe dramatically from the dancey number that was “Sanity For Summer”, the track was still clearly that of City Mouth. This track is a bit more somber than the previous two tracks but it’s still somehow upbeat and fun. Yes, I realize this makes zero sense but think if you took one of Panic At The Disco’s more ballad-like songs and mixed it with the energy of Motion City Soundtrack- that would be the closest comparison I can make for this track and I feel like even that doesn’t do it justice.
A really funky beat kicks off “Drifting Blue” and instantly drew me into the beatboxing that seems to linger in the background of this track. It’s a very fun element that you can easily miss if you don’t listen for it but it’s also an element that made this track stand out. There are plenty of rises and falls throughout this song that matches the lyrics perfectly and the way it fades into the next track is pure magic. The next track’s title is the heart-eyes emoji and honestly, that’s the perfect way to describe this track. There’s something loving about this one and it’s one of those songs that I could see playing in a movie while two strangers lock eyes and instantly fall madly in love (HA! Yeah, right. Like that actually happens– but I think you get what I mean).
The heart-eye emoji song is quick at just over a minute and a half and acts as almost a kind of a bridge before the album moves onto “Parking Lot” which gives off super strong Panic at the Disco vibes. Although no voice can ever be like that of the magical Brendon Urie, Matt Pow (the vocalist of City Mouth) has just as impressive as a voice. His range is bigger than I think he leads onto in this album and is so emotive of every word he is singing. I honestly got lost in “Parking Lot” and almost didn’t catch when the album moved onto “For A Second”. This was an instant favorite of mine. The lyrics are perfect, the instrumentation is perfect, the vibe is perfect– this song is just perfect. I wish I had more to say about it but it’s just one of those tracks that you hear and instantly have to listen to a couple of times in a row.
“Quit While I’m Ahead” brings back the more somber feeling that was introduced back on “Coping Machine” but, again, I still found myself smiling throughout this track. There’s a new sense of power in this one when it comes to the guitar work that I hadn’t heard on the previous tracks and I loved it. Although I seem to be in a dancey mood this morning, this track was another favorite of mine just due to the lyrics and the power behind it. Both “Quit While I’m Ahead” and “For A Second” are almost like self-help tracks and I really think that’s the reason I was drawn to both so strongly.
The drumbeat of “Wednesday” is a classic pattern but the way City Mouth plays with it and dances over the structured sound of the snare and bass drum is what makes it magic. I think it’s elements like that that also make this band sound so familiar while being so clearly new and innovative. Let’s go ahead and assume (and pray) that live shows come back this year. I wouldn’t have a hard time seeing these guys on tour with a band like Panic at the Disco or The Killers. They have the sound and the energy to open up for big bands like that and wouldn’t struggle to hold their own against big names like that.
Closing out this amazing album is “If You’re Not”. At just a second over five minutes, this track is the longest on the album and also the most “story-telling” type track on the album. As you know, I’m a lyrics lady, and City Mouth nails it on that front (along with basically every other front) and this song is a great example of that. Even though it’s a lengthy track, it seems to move quickly just due to the brilliant songwriting. Add in the explosive moments of instrumentation and pure emotion and you are left with a stellar closing act on an already amazing album.
If City Mouth’s ‘Coping Machine’ is any indication as to how my year in album reviews is going to go then this year is going to be a damn good year. instead of just picking out a track or two from this album to add to my daily soundtrack, I will be adding all ten of these tracks. What a great album to put you in a great mood while bringing you a little bit of self-love and an endless stream of energy.
My Favorite Track(s): “For A Second”; “Quit While I’m Ahead”
For Fans Of: Familiar But Unfamiliar Sounds; Dancing; Smiling
Dance-ability: 8 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artie hid from me after falling victim to my partner dancing; Autumn stayed upstairs (probably in fear of having to dance with me)
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 10 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 9 out of 10
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