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Thursday, 21 July 2011

Album Review: Copy Haho – Copy Haho

Released: 11th July
Label: Slow Learner

It's been a long road for Copy Haho. At least it seems like a long long time since we fell head-over-heels for their Bred For Skills & Magic EP (even though it only came out in '09). With it's tight snappy rythms and loopy Hot Club de Paris style guitars tracks such as 'Pulling Push Ups' and 'Cutting Out The Bad' were exactly the sort of thing we're after. Bit of a surprise then to find out that the four-piece have gone for a complete overhaul of their sound. With influences that are decidedly American in origin they've come up with something with more depth than we'd have expected whilst keeping excellent tunes in place.

When we were treated to the slacker-pop of 'Dying Breed' earlier in the year we should have known more what to expect from this self-titled album. The announcement of the cover art too was a bit of a giveaway as to the feel and overall sonic pallet that Copy Haho are playing with. Pavement and Los Campesinos! are more obvious touchstones, and it's the latter's jump in sound between initial releases and follow up that the Haho are most resembling.

But enough about the shift in sound. It's the tunes that matter first and foremost, and as has been mentioned these are in abundance. Take opener 'Factory Floor', which complements the fuzzy guitars with a Shins-like piano melody and vocal harmonies that sit in the background. Despite being about getting yr hands dirty and leaving the competitive to squabble it feels outdoorsy and laid back. A record to soundtrack summer unemployment if ever there was one.

Standing out elsewhere there's former single 'Wrong Direction' and insanely catchy 'Pestle And Mortar' that warrant mention, and far more detailed descriptions than I've time to give them. Suffice to say they're certain to be live favourites, the the latter particularly being buoyed by epic backing vocals. Still in comparison to 'Earthquake' they seem to lack something that's hard to pinpoint exactly. Don't get me wrong, it could well be that either of the previous turn out to be the best track of the year, but right now 'Earthquake' seems to have that SOMETHING. Perhaps it's in the sublime melody or the 'wooo-ooo-ooo-hooo's. Perhaps it's the way that the guitar zips about sounding at once fancy and understated. Perhaps it's just excellent.

Although clocking it at a fairly regular length (just shy of 36 minutes number fans) Copy Haho feels a little on the short side. Perhaps it's because of their refusal to master the fuck out of it or go full pelt all of the time, but it's easy on the ears. With all of the layers and additional flecks of instrumentation tickling yr pop buds and lulling you into a very nice place. If there's one complaint it's that this sometimes lets the music wash over, registering without imposing itself. But hey, Copy Haho have proved themselves on two releases already and this is only their debut. Anything more is eagerly anticipated.

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