Well it certainly feels like a long time in coming, but Copy Haho has finally treated the universe to their debut, self titled album. After their 2009 EP, Bred For Skills and Magic, and a few singles in between, the record is being released on the band’s own label, Slow Learner.
Opening track ‘Factory Floor’ offers the perfect introduction to the self-deprecating, melodic, indie-rock flavoured sound that lies ahead. Lead singer Joe Hearty lays down a marker early on in chiming: “But I remain the same dumb artist, chasing sales.” Immediately the growth in their sound from that earlier EP is recognisable, with an extra depth both melodically and lyrically.
Track 3 ‘Wrong Direction’ showcases some meatier guitar riffs, with a fantastic current of energy running throughout. However, those dancing, arching guitar riffs that Copy Haho is so well known for are still in abundance. ‘Waiting For Something To Happen’ flings itself around excitedly as Hearty turns a neat phrase in smirking: “I’ve been so busy, waiting for something to happen.”
On ‘A Winter On The Run’ and ‘The Be Good’ we get a taste of the slower Copy Haho sound. It comes off feeling a little flat, as the band sound at their best when whizzing past at 140mph. ‘Demons and Gods’ opens up with one of the best riffs on the album, frantic and jagged, ably assisted by the crashing of drums. This is the kind of track that either makes you want to learn to play the guitar, or to smash one up in rock and roll style after pretending to play that delicious riff.
Rather than end on a slow song about death (When It Gets Dark), the album closes on the band at their peak, on the mesmerising ‘Accent Changed’. As Joe Hearty mentioned in his interview with CDX last month, the track was initially recorded as the opening to the record, with a fuzzy, echoey intro which still remains intact. Once through the cloud of haze, the drums crash, the guitars weave their magic, the bass fuzzes along underneath, keeping everything cogent. The last minute and a half is one of the few moments on the album where they allow themselves to get away from a particularly set structure as things get a little more free-form, and it’s blindingly brilliant.
It’s an album that is a lot more hit than miss, with some big memorable moments, sharp lyrics, and a lot of energy coursing throughout.