Audio Learning Center - Cope Park (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Audio Learning Center

Cope Park (2004)


How's this for an analogy: if Friendships Often Fade Away was Audio Learning Center's Blue Album, than Cope Park is the trio's Pinkerton.

Now, I don't mean to say that Audio Learning Center is or will be as influential as Weezer has been to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. In fact, I don't even mean to imply that they sound anything like the Weez - they most certainly don't. But the purpose of my analogy is to explain that the band has undertaken a maturation process rarely seen since Rivers' drastic moments of unexpected introspection on Pinkerton.

ALC frontman Christopher Brady still penetrates each song's hypnotizing melody with his raw, throaty tenor - a voice that is quickly making a run for the "Best Worst Voice in Indie Rock" award, currently held by Tim Kasher. While he used to sound nasally and off-key, Brady has discovered some power behind his throat, really belting out his brooding thoughts on tracks like "Car" and the album's title track.

The band matches this newfound aggression with songs that push the group's sound in new directions. "You Get That From Your Mother" features a Middle Eastern sounding instrumental melody, bringing to mind Engine Down. "The Neverwills" contains a purely hypnotic dual bass/guitar melody. "Cope Park" features two songs in one, with Brady belting out "Don't you turn away / come on, I'm right here in front of your face" at the three-minute mark, turning the song into a Sonic Youth-inspired freakout.

Audio Learning Center has already begun the process of maturation this early into their career, and that can only be a good sign. Thus far, they're 2-for-2. More good things can only be coming.


Stream the entire album here