ALBUM REVIEW: City Mouth – Coping Machine

Release Date: April 24th 2020
Label: Take This To Heart Records


Fresh faced and clean, Illnois’ answer to pop-punk regeneration City Mouth boast buoyancy and lemonade-like refreshment with their new album, ‘Coping Machine’.

Saccharine from start-to-end, ‘Coping Machine’ throws lines out to topics of mental health and darkness, drawing the arms of electric guitars around those in need. Blues and yellows are glossed into such subject matters, and the alternative outfit consciously elevate each track to be more than their sombre lyrical content.

‘Sanity For Summer’ wrestles with pop and rock, scraping its knees somewhere in-between and finding its footing in chirpy guitar spats (Ryan Kress). The lyricism isn’t overly involuted, presented in a jolly, chant-like fashion, and, alongside the call and repeat spread of the backing vocals, this dilution of wording isn’t a letdown.

Swaying and smooth, ‘Drifting Blue’ drapes melancholy phrases over a lilting instrumental, blushing between brisk trumpets and ghostly beats (Jessica Burdeaux), and the ushering of a key change simply waves the track into the dangerous side of catchy.

Much like ‘Parking Lot’, some strands of this full-length breed earworms at the expense of strong lyrics, with little to come to their rescue beside the compensating trill of Kress‘ guitar in ‘If You’re Not’, or the dew of Matt Pow‘s voice in ‘Quit While I’m Ahead’. This, however, is impossible to be mad at, as each offering on this ten-track is simply feverish.

Themes of self-deprecation and retrospection inch between the bass notes (Evan Opitz) as they skip through the summery likes of ‘Wednesday’, and by this point, City Mouth are proving to be so musically flavourful that the thin, bleak nature of their lyrics doesn’t seem to subtract all that much from any track.

Steeped in syrup and undeniably consistent, ‘Coping Machine’ is a perfect example of a release that embodies what it stands for, fully. From light, yet heavy-eyed album art to the downtrodden verbal integrants that are delivered in a cocktail-sodden package, City Mouth‘s duality is hugely apparent and poses great potential for the applaudable complexity of future releases.