What is it about covers that simply fascinate us? Middle-aged "tribute bands" who play nothing but older bands' songs in bars are lame and talentless, but the moment we hear of an already well-established group doing a song written by a predecessor, we jump at the chance to hear it. Seeing as how we all already love the band Copeland--find me someone who doesn't and I'll be sure to run them out of town with my posse of angry torch-bearing village people like the unappreciative monsters they are--fans have been waiting very impatiently for the band Copeland's follow-up to the 2003 wonderalbum Beneath The Medicine Tree. The release of this five-song EP has been greatly delayed by the need for the consent of the songs' original artists. Some may be thinking it was delayed far too long for such a standard legal procedure, but let's see you simply walk up and ring Stevie Wonder's doorbell with a few papers to sign while he drinks his morning coffee.
         This album,
Know Nothing Stays The Same, has a very peculiar job ahead of it: the CD is set to greatly simplify songs that were created in an age where we for the first time discovered all sorts of new recording technology and were utilizing it rather excessively. Copeland has been praised since its first release for its down-to-earth approach with peaceful vocal harmonies, a natural guitar sound, and brilliantly incorporated piano. Putting this CD in your player, you have to be intrigued by the idea of what the record will sound like.
       Track one gets right to the point as guitars jump in on the intro of the Phil Collins song "Another Day In Paradise." The melody and words are undoubtedly those of the balding ex-Genesis drummer extraordinaire, but the sound is irrefutably Copeland's. Now, bands have two roads they can take once they've decided to cover a song: they can either choose something that is already somewhat close to their musical style, or they can go the complete opposite and butcher something totally unlike their own music and then somehow make it their music. Somehow, on this CD, Copeland does neither. If you'd already heard Copeland's own recordings, there would be little surprise in finding that they didn't originally write the songs on this album. However, the band has chosen songs that can more easily be stripped down to fit their style.
         This is much more a new Copeland CD than it is a trip down memory lane. While those old enough to have been of age back when Carly Simon was still a hot young thing can sing along with the words in the songs, they have been remade into entirely different songs. The greatest risk on this album was most likely the cover of Stevie Wonder's "Part Time Lover"--while it is one of the only tracks that seems to fit well with Aaron Marsh's vocalwork, the extra instruments added to maintain the original beat seem very out of place with the Copeland style. None of the songs could ever be called "bad," however; while they are not quite as exciting as some of the band's own material, the whole EP is definitely worth a buy when it comes out this September.
         So here's the summary: Copeland's
Know Nothing Stays The Same does well in serving its purpose as a temporary appeasement for anxious fans as they await the band's next full-length. The songs are sweet, well played, and a real treat for any Copeland fan with knowledge of older music. But if you haven't already heard Copeland, be sure to pick up Beneath The Medicine Tree to see what it's all about.
R.S. '04
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The Militia Group
1) Another Day In Paradise (Phil Collins)
2) Coming Around Again (Cary Simon)
3) She's Always A Woman (Billy Joel)
4) Take My Breath Away (Berlin)
5) Part Time Lover (Stevie Wonder)
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