COPELAND- Eat, Sleep, Repeat

It would be easy to assume what a new Copeland record would sound like. Most folks already have the Florida band firmly slotted into the emo genre and the energetic pop rocks they’ve previously produced will only make that easier. But ‘Eat, Sleep, Repeat’, rounded out by fragile, breathy melodies, diverse flourishes and solid, sincere songwriting, actually sounds more like a straight-up indie thing than any fashion-conscious troupe struggling with a difficult third album. The subtle gear change means this record has massive potential outside the usual ‘scene’ channels too, offering fans of Coldplay, Radiohead and poetic lyricism just as much as it offers those of Brand New and Mae. ‘Eat, Sleep, Repeat’ isn’t going to take the world by storm, but, listening to the gentle, sleepy sorrow of ‘I'm A Sucker For A Kind Word’ it barely sounds like it wants to. It is too well-articulated, too well-rounded and just too good to ever be tagged as mere emo though. And, regardless of whether you’ve never heard Copeland, or have been a fan of their previously louder output for years, this is arguably their best work to date.

STRAYLIGHT RUN- The Needles The Space

Ahh, now this is great. And that’s true whichever side of the Taking Back Sunday divide you fell. If your heart went with John Nolan and Shaun Cooper when they left the New York quintet in a flurry of harsh words over four years ago, ‘The Needles The Space’ is exactly what you’ve been waiting for since. And if you always stuck with team TBS then you just don’t need to worry anymore. Straylight Run aren’t going to come out rocking, they aren’t even aiming for that rack in the CD store anymore, they’re never going to test your loyalties again.

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BOSSK + Manatees. The Roundabout, High Wycombe. 09.06.07

Fuck the ambience, fuck the emotion, tonight is about music you can feel in your gut. In fact, when Kent quintet Bossk truly find their groove, you can feel it in your limbs, lungs, heart, eyes and crawling all over your brain. There’s barely a part of the body that their Mastodon meets Isis post-metal doesn’t bruise. But it’s not like this show doesn’t have emotion or atmosphere covered either. While Carlisle trio Manatees have a similar disregard for eardrums (Paul hits his drums like falling bricks and Alex’s bass rumbles so violently it breaks mid-set), they excel at moments of hypnotic calm and swirling, smoky drama too. And, as ‘iii’ builds from tribal percussion to a roaring metallic burn, it fixes to put you in the sort of bug-eyed trance that wouldn’t break for weeks. Luckily the headliners are on hand to snap you back to life. Because, while the Bossk boys clearly enjoy a few quiet, mind-bending moments of their own, it is the weight, power and goddamn monolithic presence of their music that truly impresses. Every level on the soundboard is scraping the red but the band are trap tight and make every twist and crunching turn look easy. By the time a bespectacled frontman sidles through the crowd to scream the end of ‘ii’ the speakers are working so hard you can feel the hot air at the back of the room and glasses are vibrating on the bar. High Wycombe hasn’t heard anything as loud since World War Two. And that’s booming praise indeed.


HEAD AUTOMATICA-Mean Fiddler, London. 28.05.07

Tonight has been a long time coming. This band have booked their tickets across the pond on three occasions now and every single time the anticipation here has been palpable but every single time Daryl Palumbo’s Crohn’s Disease has got the better of the man and his band. But finally tonight, London gets its beating heart (baby) kick-started by Head Automatica. And man does this thing begin like the greatest party ever.

The explosive riot-pop of ‘I Shot William H. Macy’, the hump and bump of ‘Laughing At You’ and the massive sing-a-long for ‘Solid Gold Telephone’ form an opening rally that could suck the sweat from this crowd’s pores were they not giving it up so freely. ‘Cannibal Girl’, ‘Lying Through Your Teeth’ and a storming ‘Graduation Day’ are given a particularly rabid reception but really every track is greeted like a long lost friend. It is however not all neon and glitter inside the Mean Fiddler.

Live, Head Automatica are a proper band; they spit and stomp and really put their instruments through it. And what comes out isn’t just candy-coated electronic tunes but genuinely bulging riffs and dirty beats. An amped-up version of ‘Please Please Please’ confirms that the boys onstage truly know how to rock, the blood-on-the-dancefloor shake-and scream of ‘Oxycotton’ wades with punk rock abandon through soul croons and hypnotic sludge and the people here for ‘Beating Heart Baby’ alone have already jammed their fingers in their ears by the time Daryl screeches through ‘K Horse’ like a demon.

No one really knows if the frontman is particularly on form, the capital hasn’t caught him onstage for years and years, but the stick thin singer is certainly ridiculously confident, a wildly animated, consummate showman and vocally deadly. And, while his giddy eyes and high-pitched giggles do suggest it’s something more than adrenaline powering him along, he is without a doubt the burning bright star of the show. If he does get better than this then the Glassjaw reunion tour can’t come soon enough.

With a closing cut of ‘The Razor’ Head Automatic are gone but London’s faith in them, England’s love for them is back. With a mighty vengeance.