Do you remember when you were a teenager? (I’m aware that some people who are reading this might not be a teenager yet, but bear with me). You felt you could do anything, that the sky was the limit. You had ideas, dreams, wishes. New thoughts and sounds would rush through your mind. The sad reality though is that a lot of people never know how to channel these attitudes into reality. Practically everyone is guilty of it, hell even I am! However, whatever dreams and thoughts Australian band Copywrite had during their teens, they not only realised them, they turned them into living, breathing, ferocious articles of music and released it as an album called A Heart Of Glass.
A little backstory may help. Copywrite is a group of (as their Facebook biography states) non musicians who have been recording and producing an album’s worth of material since they were 16. Apparently none of this album was recorded in a professional studio, as it was entirely assembled at the homes of each band mate. Now barely out of school, Copywrite have created A Heart Of Glass, and from the apparent history behind this record, it can be fair to say that this record is FAR better than what it should be. Listening to these tracks of bitterness, menace, and the pain of love told with such ferocity and emotion, it is impossible not to be bowled over by how mature and thoughtfully Copywrite tackle these themes, given the band’s youthful age.
Break The Screen opens proceedings on a powerful and lightly experimental note, with a sliding back-and-forth between silky bass tones and a pounding, indie rock approximation of what a Led Zeppelin riff should sound like. “Wasting privileges I own but never earn” sneers vocalist Luna, highlighting a generational concern that comes across half-didactic/half-proud. With the scintillating guitar leads and racing drum patterns, it is hard not to feel a decent amount of Sleater-Kinney being represented on the spirited punkish sneer that is Rose Tinted Glass. The swerving Social Frustrations is a highlight that flips between cyclic, PJ Harvey-esque piano ballad, and surging midnight punk sludge. Lead single Philophobia meanwhile is the most focused track here, with a tight percussion line, 3 minute running time, and jangly riff. Named after the fear of love, the track holds up not only as biting self-analysis, but also the detrimental side of love. In the words of the band about inspiration behind the song; “It seemed everyone who fell in love completely changed; almost accepting less of themselves and abandoning their ambitions, dying off to simply having a love of their life”.
By far the most commendable and arresting trick that A Heart Of Glass pulls is its perfectly executed sequencing. The album begins on a noticeable harsh and threatening tone, as showcased in the first few track titles (Break The Screen, White Lies, A Climatic Drop Of Strings, Social Frustrations). All of which mine inspiration from the emotional killing field that one’s teenage years can feel like. However, after the lengthy and visceral sonic execution that is Knives Out, the final four tracks take a far mellower turn. Satellites is a delicate acoustic plucking exercise that is made all the more striking given the juxtaposition to the tracks that preceded it. A sad and vulnerable moment can be found in the line “I’m no longer looking up to stars”, sung by Luna in dreary resignation. After the previous 35 minutes of guttural finger-pointing, venom, and vitriol, it is arresting to discover that now our fiery protagonist has given up hope. The grand and mournful organ on A Soothing Sensation cements this feeling of blissful submission and assists in hammering in Luna’s realisation that “Behind the glass, life moves fast, now I’m the forgotten one/Once so sure and understood, now cold and confused”. Furthermore, over surprise saxophone squeals that call to mind Radiohead’s Life In A Glasshouse, Luna admits that she most sorrowfully, requests to a lover to “Please, forget what we’ve been through”. It’s a very touching moment told with exactly the right amount of pathos. A Soothing Sensation transitions subtly into Moon Song, which delights with its sombre piano progression, breathy vocals, weeping violins, and minute long coda consisting solely of the sound of gently rolling waves. And the aptly titled Finale concludes the album on a silky arrangement of acoustic guitars, and leaves on one last, rhetorical question that seems to sum up the entire album prior to it: “If you broke my heart of glass, how far have you come?”. The transition from sonic aggression to bittersweet musical exhalation stands as the album’s crowning achievement, and provides proof that Copywrite understand the youthful human condition.
They may be self-proclaimed non-musicians and non-producers, but A Heart Of Glass proves that Copywrite display a staggering amount of talent that does not deserve to be contained by such humility. While grounded in indie rock and tackling themes that have been sung about to death, it is the manner in which Copywrite approach that material that makes A Heart Of Glass so interesting. Not afraid to get experimental and lavish with instrumentation (sax and violins), they know not to get bogged down in any unnecessary flab. That being said, A Heart Of Glass is a staggering debut and a grand testament to the pain of youth.
Released August 11th, 2015