It’s always interesting to see the number of bands nowadays that are taking a multitude of genres and twisting them into something that is their own. Toronto, Ontario’s Copper Crown’s debut self-titled release does just that by combining ska, rock, soul, and punk elements. Although some of these genres work better with each other than others, Copper Crown is still a solid debut effort from a band that is loaded with potential.
The four-track EP starts off incredibly promising with a great opener “The Messenger.” Within seconds, this song boasts the album’s solid production quality: clean guitar tone, punchy bass, and clear, accented trumpet. This all contributes to a polished ska-punk sound. “Summer Haze” is another track of this EP that I really enjoyed. It keeps a similar vibe, but with a more relaxed, beachside summertime feel to it. The other two songs on this EP, “Irene” and “Johnny Muskrat,” aren’t bad either, but I do find that they drag for a little too long. That being said, both these tracks kept introducing new elements throughout their runtimes which helped them avoid a great deal of repetition.
The only thing I’m not exactly sold on with Copper Crown’s overall sound is the lead vocals. While Gabrielle Byrnes possesses an incredible and soulful voice, it just doesn’t fit the music in the way I had hoped it would. Rather than sounding like this awesome combination of ska-rock and soul, the result is essentially a soul vocalist doing her thing overtop of something out of her genre. I would have preferred for the vocals to have a bit more grit and aggression to them to better blend with the music.
Despite this small detail, however, it is a solid EP. The production is impressive, and Molly Vaclav’s trumpet contributions add some ska and even Latin flavour to the music. The songs are certainly diverse and stand out from one another. While the tracks themselves could be better, Copper Crown is still an act that I’d love to catch in Toronto sometime in the near future.
Written by Mathieu Perrier
*edited by Danielle Kenedy