COIN Album Review
StarTime International/Columbia Records
Released: June 16, 2015
Genre: Indie Rock, Indie Pop, Pop Rock
There’s a certain type of group in the indie pop/rock hybrid genre that I absolutely detest. These groups come on to the scene with a few bland, albeit catchy songs and (briefly) take storm of the entire casual alt-listening audience. Their ultimate goal seems to be getting their single in a movie trailer or a Coke commercial, and then cashing their checks and fading into obscurity. While I hate to call out artists for exclusively negative reasons, I’ll be blunt here and say I’m talking about bands like Walk the Moon and American Authors. Hopefully I’ll be proven wrong, but they seem to be technically proficient dudes without an ounce of passion in them.
I was initially worried COIN would turn out to be another one of these bands. I’d heard their single “Run” a few times and didn’t dislike it, but I definitely wasn’t onboard. That being said, once I gave their self-titled debut album a chance, I found my fears were (mostly) alleviated. This Nashville based band hasn’t made me their Number One Fan, but COIN is a strong, genuinely good first album, even if many of their songs seem to be interchangeable.
I’m not going to give a chronological track-by-track review of COIN, because for at least the first half of the album, it would seem fairly repetitive. That sentence isn’t meant to be read as a dig, though. It makes complete sense that, for the most part, COIN would try to stick to what they know best right now, which are refreshingly light, fast-paced ~three minute tracks. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
Still, even among the homogeny, there are a few real standout songs. One of these is the album-starting “Atlas.” This percussion heavy track is enjoyable as hell and gives each member a chance to stand out. I particularly enjoy Chase Lawrence as the lead vocalist and Ryan Winnen on the drums. Other standouts include track two “Fingers Crossed,” a solid rock song with some interesting synth, and “Better,” an honestly written, slightly slower song that proves COIN has some true heart. Additionally, “Holy Ghost” doesn’t succeed at getting all too deep, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t really damn fun.
While COIN has potential to become a well respected indie mainstay, their first album does have a few noticeable missteps. While the general similarities between the songs collected here usually works, “Time Machine” is an example of where it definitely does not. While definitely not lazy (don’t call anything produced by an artist lazy, because that’s almost never accurate), “Time Machine” feels like indifferent filler, and listening to it makes me feel absolutely nothing. Also not working is the final track “Lately.” It’s strange and experimental, with intentionally distant, ‘off’ sounds that build to a climactic final thirty-five seconds, but it’s just not something COIN is able to pull off yet. Regardless, I certainly respect them for trying something weird.
COIN by COIN is a fine album that’s worth your attention. It doesn’t break new ground but hell, barely anything breaks new ground If every album broke new ground the ground would be a goddamn mess. You should listen to this album and definitely be on the lookout for whatever these guys make next.
FAV TRACKS: Atlas, Fingers Crossed, Better
LEAST FAV TRACKS: Time Machine, Lately