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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Brian Copeland Band - Circles

Brian Copeland Band - Circles
2010, Brian Copeland Band
Portland, Oregon’s Brian Copeland Band have been making music together since 2003, becoming a local favorite.  Working with pianist/songwriter/arranger Matt Burnett (Jim Brickman), Copeland has written three albums of critically acclaimed materially, the latest of which is Circles.
Circles opens with the infernally catchy pop of "On The Inside".  Copeland has an affable, middle of the road voice that won't blow you away but plies itself easily to the easy, breezy pop/rock offered here.  "Number 53" is highly infectious, delivered in an open arrangement with a solid/memorable melody line.  Copeland puts a real bounce into the song that makes you want to dance along.  "Bound" explores the process of watching a love affair fall apart and it wrapped around the sort of pop hook that keeps the song recurring in your head. 
Copeland's distinctive pop tendencies take the middle of the album off, with five relatively mundane tunes that serve as effective filler but fail to excite or engage.  The penultimate "It's A Shame" is a post breakup de-briefing with a nice melody.  Copeland explores the events in a slowly paced pop tune that's quite well crafted and memorable.  Circles closes with the title track, replicating the title in the cyclical style of the arrangement.  The song is an outsider's tune, somehow self-pitying and objective at the same time.
The Brian Copeland Band travels the circuitous route on Circles, turning a highly promising EP into a middle-of-the-road album with as much working against as for it.  There's not really anything on Circles you'd think of as bad songwriting, but the track ordering here places all of the weakest material in one block in the middle of the album.  This works against the band and also may turn off listeners before they get to a couple of really well-written songs at the end.  Circles will alternately make you glad you listened, wish you'd stopped sooner, and ultimately be glad you stuck around (if you stick around).

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

 Learn more about the Brian Copeland Band at or  Circles is available digitally from CDBaby and iTunes.

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