Off-Key with Eric D: ‘Coopers’

Eric D'Orazio

At this time, it seems that the music industry has found itself in a state of repetition. A state of such reiteration that bands start to look alike and everything sounds the same, with extreme emphasis on the “New York” trend. Though such a situation is common for just about every popular genre known to man, it does get highly annoying as it furthers its way into pop culture. However, when the time is right, a new band comes through to break the cycle of rehashed music and pave the way to something purely brilliant. Ladies and gentlemen, that band has come, and they are called The Cooper Temple Clause.

Having formed sometime around 2000, the Reading, England six-piece quickly gained notoriety as a result of their exceptionally loud, but electronically charged, shows, an immense affinity for drinking, and emotionally gripping lyrics, most of which seethed with dark issues like rejection and outright vitriol towards life and society. With their first album, 2002’s “See This Through and Leave,” the band achieved outstanding hit status in the U.K. with singles like “Film-Maker” and “Let’s Kill Music,” and their appearances at numerous festivals across the country helped make them and their album household names.

So, early last fall, they released their follow-up, “Kick Up The Fire, And Let The Flames Break Loose,” a 10-track masterwork based deeply in the heartbreak and remorse they had covered up so well in their deadly first effort. Though not entirely a sad affair, the album goes about showing that behind the façade of overdriven distortion and acerbic lyrics, there lie the inescapable memories with which the members of the band must cope. And so they do.

Out of the album’s 10 illustrious pieces, the foremost one is “Promises Promises.” Besides being the new album’s first single, it is also remains the loudest and most bombastic track on the release, recalling back to the days of The Coopers’ debut and procuring a balance to the new effort’s overall bleak nature. Opening with blasting guitars and blistering drums, the song’s content laces into a failed relationship and the fact that “you made promises you couldn’t keep.” Lead singer Ben Gautrey furthers this idea by quite literally screaming “you got me where you want me” and to “forget about me and just desecrate everything.” Even though this may seem to be the record’s most destructive moment, it brings about a fine way to blow off the steam set when the one you love figuratively stabs you in the back.

As for The Coopers’ most tender moment on their new album, it arrives in the form of the third track, “New Toys.” Being more of a dark, electronic, synth-driven song, the piece can be considered a flipside to the fury of “Promises Promises.” Dealing with a relationship that has all but gone, the song revolves around the idea that “we came, we played, we drifted away,” while utilizing a heart-wrenching vocal hook to emphasize “carving my own little masterpiece.” With more dejection displayed through the recurring line, “what’s happening to us?” the overall message of “New Toys” shows to great effect the undeniable principle that things fall apart.

If one is searching for the album’s finest moment, that moment in which everything meets stellar perfection, they need look no further than the staggering “Blind Pilots.” In similar fashion to the rest of the record’s tracks, the song deals with a relationship teetering on the edge of obliteration. Driven by a moving bassline and blistering guitar riffs, the song proclaims superbly that, in respect to love, “we’re just blind pilots in strange planes.” This idea is made even greater through lead man Gautrey’s assertion that “I can’t pretend that I could be the man you said you saw in me,” while begging to “tend to me and my mistakes.” In all truth, it seems that “Blind Pilots” has the breakdown of the breakup put together quite well, but in such a sense that the break-up at hand could be thwarted towards a brighter future.

With all things considered, it is quite obvious that The Cooper Temple Clause is the hottest thing to come out of England since afternoon tea. While the unassuming listener may claim that they are merely the U.K.’s response to America’s Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, in that both bands have a fair share of electronically driven songs, the fact is that The Coopers have a volume and presence that make BRMC look like a simple alternative band. Whatever it is that make bands great and permanent in the music world, The Coopers have it, and a lot of it. Especially in considering that their latest album will meet an American release shortly, it is all but apparent that the band is well on its way to conquering the world.

With this in mind, some people may go about calling them the next Nirvana. In fact, some may even consider them the next Manic Street Preachers. But whatever they may be, they are the next big thing.