Copeland - Dressed Up & in Line (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Dressed Up & in Line (2007)

The Militia Group

Three full-lengths into the game, one supposes it's fair enough that fervent indie popsters Copeland has warranted a B-sides collection. Or do they?

Like all of Copeland's past efforts, Dressed Up & in Line is a pleasant and enjoyable release of heartfelt, often piano and keyboard-guided tunes, assuming you can stomach sometimes overly earnest moments and lots of heart-on-sleeve wearing. Hearing the band's alternate takes on recognizable catalog songs is somewhat interesting, but considering they make up about 38% of the album, listening sometimes feels like running on a well-worn treadmill with its settings slightly adjusted.

The 'slow version' of "Thanks to You" opens Dressed Up in rather orchestral fashion, with Marsh's familiar falsetto and an accompanying string section, and while its dramatization makes it a little cheesy it's still a beautiful opener. This becomes a common thing with much of Dressed Up's alternate takes, with none particularly improving upon the originals but without necessarily falling flat on their respective faces.

The previously unreleased and B-sides songs here have been newly re-recorded by the band, giving them a uniform aesthetic sound-wise. They're hardly the band's strongest material, especially when compared to staples like "Control Freak," "No One Really Wins" and "Pin Your Wings," but sometimes they're pretty good ("That Awful Memory of Yours"), other times decent ("Chin Up," "May I Have This Dance") and once in a while fairly tired-sounding ("Thanks to You").

The band pepper the compilation with a few covers, likely outtakes from 2004's covers EP, Nothing Stays the Same. One is a fairly bang-up job: "Black Hole Sun" imagines Copeland's beauty meeting Soundgarden's grungy melancholy; it's weird but pretty effective. "Every Breath You Take" is really bizarre and drags, though. There's also an alternate version of "Black Hole Sun" tacked on as a secret song, where Marsh, or more likely someone else, sings in a horrible, intentionally off-key voice with incorrect lyrics for an entirely too long rendition of it.

Dressed Up & in Line, while a solid collections disc for Copeland, carries the kind of appeal that may only be appropriate for long-time fans. However, they're sure to flock to the wealth of material here.

Dressed Up & in Line