In my mind, there’s nothing better than a band that can blur the genre lines on an album. Imagine my excitement when I was introduced to City Mouth, set to release their new LP, Coping Machine, on April 24, 2020 via Take This To Heart Records. The album goes a step further and blends multiple styles and sounds within individual songs. Think “The 1975” meets later “Panic! at the Disco” meets “Motion City Soundtrack.” I know that’s hard to imagine, but lucky for you, City Mouth brings it to life.
The album starts off strong with “Sinking,” immediately giving the listener powerful, in-your-face lyrics with a soft background track. An unassuming piano part brings the song to a totally new style, with music that makes it hard to sit still. The second verse features some incredibly relatable lyrics for the current situation of the world. Overall, “Sinking” makes me want to be singing in a big crowd at the top of my lungs, and I promise that’s not the five weeks of quarantine talking.
“Sanity for Summer” follows with just as much gusto, but in a completely different way. The intro leads into an almost tropical, happy-sounding track with lyrics that don’t quite mirror that happiness. The chorus is super catchy, and I found myself bopping along to it on the first listen.
The title track, “Coping Machine” starts on a different foot than the previous songs. The beginning is chilling with the constant beeping of an alarm clock and haunting vocals, but because it’s City Mouth it seamlessly transitions to a totally different sounding song by the chorus, and again going into the second verse.
Right off the bat, “Drifting Blue” takes the title of my personal favorite on Coping Machine. Something about the flow of the vocals mixed with the rhythmic intro makes it sound like the perfect song to listen to while you’re sitting outside with some close friends. The horn feature in the chorus adds an almost mournful sound to an otherwise happy song.
The music from the previous track transitions perfectly into the beginning of “Heart Eyes.” This song features multiple stylistic changes throughout and highlights some spectacular guitar riffs. Something about this short track reminds me of later albums from Panic! at the Disco, specifically Pray for the Wicked, and I feel inclined to say it’s thanks to the echoed vocals throughout.
“Parking Lot” provides a nostalgic-sounding intro with lyrics throughout that seem so familiar, yet so fresh and new. The second verse is home to a powerful bass line that carries on the duration of the song. The track wraps up with a different rendition of the first verse, one that carries a bit more of a pop punk feel to it.
“For A Second” is, without hesitation, the song that caught me most off guard. This track blends so many different styles and genres into a single song, and it stretches the limits. City Mouth manages to merge hip-hop verses with a fun pop rock chorus that borrows some lyrics from Elton John. The lyrics in this song are so fun and so clever, it’ll leave you wanting more.
“Quit While I’m Ahead” could be right at home on any album from The 1975 with an electronic background track that adds guitars and drums later on in the song. It’s the epitome of an upbeat song with lyrics that don’t quite match up, and is another that had me head-bobbing along on the first listen.
“Wednesday” brings another solid bass line to the effort but this time paired with a driving drum beat and playful lyrics. The lyrics throughout are some of my favorite, particularly in the chorus. The track ends with a delicate piano and vocal duet that, once again, is a far cry from any other approach on the album. Also, who doesn’t love a good Britney Spears shout-out?
The album closes with “If You’re Not,” a track that is yet again another example of how City Mouth can blend different styles seamlessly into a single song. It opens with an almost-ballad sound that transitions quickly into another upbeat song with sad lyrics that pull you in, waiting to hear what’s coming next. “If You’re Not” leaves the listener with a warm, dark string feature that concludes the album perfectly.
City Mouth takes listeners through countless genres over the course of their new 10-song album. From light, delicate music to loud, in-your-face lyrics it’s hard to think of something that hasn’t been included. There’s no doubt the genre-bending Coping Machine is poised to propel City Mouth to a much bigger stage.