It would be simple and indeed true to call Copper Crown’s debut full-length album Walk With Fire ska. However, it would also be a great injustice, as there is so much more to Copper Crown’s sound than just ska. Yes, there’s a trumpet. Yes, their attitude is clearly punk rock. But let’s skank a little further than that shall we?
I can’t really start the review without giving major props to vocalist Gabrielle Byrnes. Her range is incredible; she, at times, sounds like a cabaret jazz vocalist and hits high notes with apparent ease, as on the track “Walk With Fire.” It’s not really ska, more of a mid-range, blues rock with steady, hard driven guitar and drums and oscillating trumpet, but ya, the vocals are above and beyond the highlight of the track. Copper Crown are not opposed to laying on the heavy either, “Those Who Remain” showcases some serious shredding by guitarist Mark Short; when juxtaposed with the “chiller” guitars in the verse and Byrnes’ sultry vocals, you start to accept that Copper Crown’s modus operandi is to have you expect the unexpected.
Through the twists and turns, at the very core Copper Crown still draw a heavy influence from punk and ska. “Child’s Play” features the quintessential horn flourishes and guitar strumming of the late seventies 2-Tone ska revival. If it wasn’t for the lack of keyboards you might even think it was The Selecter. The bass and trumpet of Joel Dekter and Molly Vaclav absolutely soar on “Back in Your Arms,” an upbeat and high tempo party jam. This tightly wrapped, 2:16 punk banger, demonstrates Copper Crown at their fiercest and most raw and further drives home the point that this is a band that won’t be pigeonholed into any one style or genre of music.
If you’re a ska punk diehard, there may not be enough of it on Walk With Fire to satiate your blood thirst for skanking. If ska music rubs you the wrong way, then Walk With Fire will probably turn you off. But, if you’re less concerned with all the genre and style semantics and just want to get down with some killer, energetic rock music and some A+ vocals, Walk With Fire will play like a fucking delight.
Written by Lee Ferguson
*edited by Danielle Kenedy