Breaking the Sophomore Curse – Kopecky’s “Drug for the Modern Age”

Free Music Friday – Enjoy a 4 song Kopecky sampler

For a band that has been together since 2007, releasing your second album seems a little…slow. I was introduced to the band formerly known as The Kopecky Family Band with a free EP The Disaster and the companion Of Epic Proportions. I am not going to lie, it was good but didn’t blow me away. It was music I enjoyed listening to but I never shared it with friends. After three EP’s, the band finally released their debut LP Kids Raising Kids. And I never listened to it. Apparently it was well received, getting reviews that said “If you like Fleetwood Mac, try Kopecky Family Band…intelligent and a bit edgy, but still mainstream (NY Times)” and “Quickly fell in love. The Kopecky’s sweet rock songs keep blooming into something irresistible (NPR).”

Most bands that have a well received debut end up having a sophomore slump. The pressure of trying to live up to what others say your music is and quite frankly, sometimes lightening doesn’t strike twice. So when I got a NoiseTrade email saying to check out a 4 song sampler from the newly shortened Kopecky, I figured, what the heck, let’s see what they have to offer. The single for the album was named “Quarterback.” Aside from conjuring images of a humiliating football career in high school, how bad could it be? Here is what Quarterback is… perfect roll-down-your-windows-and-crank-up-the-volume summer music. And I mean perfect.

When a radio hit right now called “Honey I’m Good” sounds exactly like Cotton Eyed Joe, radio is in dire need of some honest to goodness fun music right now. And while Quarterback is about lying to try to get a date, the band laughingly calls it “the worst relationship advice ever.” That’s a far cry from some of the other crap out there. Since I didn’t fully digest the first album, I can’t compare this album to the first LP. It  has hints of 80’s synth, 90’s guitar that gets stuck in your head, and lyrics that are at once accessible yet striving for the profound. The album was written while the band members experienced some of life’s worst storms (death of a sibling, divorce) and the lyrics dive into life, love, relationship and all the things that tear away at those things in our life and reveals something found at the bottom of those things…hope.

You find it sprinkled in the slightly moody opener Die Young, written in the wake of a bandmember’s brother’s death. “If we’re going to die young, we’ll live as if it’s not today.” The album then bursts into life with the supremely danceable song that follows called My Love. Don’t listen to this album for your quiet end-of-the-evening porch rocking session. No, listen to it when you need that pick me up that reminds you of all the good things about the 80’s. It isn’t without it’s melancholy; songs like Closed Doors echo with regret and Thrill  has a dark feel to it, but even these songs don’t drown in despair. And the album doesn’t leave you stuck, it brings you back to the theme of hope.

Their “Drug for the Modern Age” is relationships. In their words, “In this day and age we are all struggling to find a sense of ease and happiness in the midst of war & disease. We see addiction to drugs, alcohol, technology, ageless beauty & want what we can’t have. But at the end of the day true fullness can be found in a greater love and appreciation for all things. Recognizing we are all connected. To me, that’s the Drug for the Modern Age.” That’s a drug that I can endorse.

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