Songs about loved lost and love regained are a dime a dozen. There are more songs throughout the history of music that are based in relationships than those based in any other lyrical topic. Yet few bands out there can actually stand up and say that they have taken said topics and used them as the basis for a virtual concept album about facing one of life’s most difficult situations. Enter The Crash Years. This Clarkesville, Georgia based band’s new EP Cope has done just that. Whether or not it was intentional, the band has crafted in its new release, a collection of songs that tells a story. It tells the story of a figure going through the mixed emotions that come with a breakup until he or she finally reaches the point of coming to terms with his or her situation, and begins to move on. The EPs sequencing is just the first part of what makes Cope such an interesting record. The ability of the band to fully capture the mixed emotions felt by someone that has gone through a breakup is another reason to check out this record. And by direct connection, that ability to fully interpret those emotions leads to a powerful and lasting emotional impact on listeners. By the EP’s end, listeners will find for themselves just how true each of these statements stand. In turn, they will agree that Cope is deserving of a spot on the list of the year’s best new EPs.
The sequencing of the songs on Cope is the foundation for this EP’s success. It all starts with the deeply emotional piano driven introduction in which singer Joel Cox pours out his heart to an unnamed woman. The song is short. Its run time comes in at a little less than three minutes. Cox does so much with so little here. This applies both in terms of his musically minimalist approach and in terms of the song’s relatively short run time. Cox sings in an almost pleading tone, “Please tell me I’m wrong/Tell me I don’t need to worry/If I’m back on my doubt/Don’t let me lose it all/Prove me wrong.” Cox is singing in the chorus of his own self-doubt in regards to having gone through the breakup in question. His words set against the gentle strains of the piano make the song all the more emotionally powerful; so much so that there really is no need for it to have a title. Thus it is simply the EP’s Intro.
The ‘Intro’ to Cope is just the first example of how the EP’s sequencing contributes to its success. Over the course of the EP’s next four tracks, Cox and his band mates—Tyler Brantley (guitar), Ethan Watkins (bass), and Drake Kent (drums)—take listeners on a musical and emotional journey which audiences of every age have taken at one point or another. It ultimately leads to the EP’s closer/ title track. It’s fitting that the band closed Cope with its title track. As listeners will hear in this song, Cox’s subject has gone through the varied emotions that come with a breakup, but has finally “learned to cope” as he sings. As with the EP’s other tracks, this song’s musical side compliments these lyrics quite well. There’s still a certain amount of self-doubt and uncertainty in Cox’s voice as he sings. But at the same time, there is also a certain amount of determination to move on, too. Again, that mix of music and lyrics makes the song easily relatable to listeners of any age. In turn it makes it one more part of the whole that makes this EP well worth the listen.
Listeners should be able to tell by now just how important the sequencing is to the overall success of Cope. Just as important to this EP’s success is the band’s ability to capture the myriad of emotions that people go through in the process of a breakup and what follows. As has already been noted, the band does quite the job of capturing that emotion in the likes of the EP’s ‘Intro’ and its title track/closer. They aren’t the only points at which the band exhibits its ability to capture the pure emotion felt in the different stages of a breakup. ‘Always Wrong’ is a good example of the band’s ability to capture said emotions. It starts out with a certain energy that eventually builds to an almost frantic level before pulling completely back in the song’s chorus. Cox sings sadly in the chorus, “I keep thinking a change of scenery will get you out of my head/But I’m wrong/I’m always wrong.” The emotion in his voice mixed with that sudden contrast of dynamics makes the song all the more powerful and relatable to any listener. Who hasn’t wanted to just get away after a breakup and start over? Again, the band has done quite the job of capturing the very real emotions that people feel in just such a situation. Believe it or not, what the members of The Crash Years have done throughout this record is rare. They have shown real originality and appreciation for their talents. This is rare both in the emo scene and in the music industry as a whole. Far too many emo bands out there have vocalists that just sound like they’re crying and whining when they take the mic. And their musical side is just as unoriginal. Because the members of The Crash Years have taken that road less travelled, it has made their music longer lasting and more impactful. This is the last part of what makes Cope a record worth taking in at least once.
That The Crash Years have crafted a record in Cope that actually somewhat breaks the mold of the emo record. The band’s front man doesn’t sing with the standard whiny, nasal kind of tone that is so common among other bands of its ilk. The band as a whole also didn’t set out to make just another poppy, radio friendly record. It actually manages to capture true human emotion through the songs on this record. It’s real emo for lack of better wording. Because of that, it’s so much more impactful and relatable to audiences as well as longer-lasting in listeners’ memories. Whenever audiences can say that a band’s music is as impactful and long-lasting as that of The Crash Years on this EP, it is a big statement. While The Crash Years may not be as big a name as certain others in its genre, that impact and longevity of the EP’s songs (along with the EP’s sequencing and the ability of the band to capture the songs’ emotions) are certain more than anything to make Cope a record that will impress any emo fan. It is available now and can be ordered through the band’s official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/thecrashyearsmusic. More information on Cope, any upcoming live shows and more is also available via the band’s Facebook page and its official website, http://thecrashyears.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.