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Co-Pilot - Rotate (Album Review)

Co-Pilot - Rotate
Co-Pilot - Rotate

Co-Pilot are a new band hailing from Manchester whose debut album, Rotate, just dropped this year. It’s a strange piece of indie pop that dabbles in the uncanny valley throughout it. Each track is as catchy as it is odd, with gently beautiful harmony’s and moments of weirdness galore. 

The opening track ‘Swim to Sweden’ may get stuck in your head almost instantly, but it still has these bizarre squelchy synths across the track. It is like the shadow of a Metronomy track. Each time I found myself singing it in my head, it would surprise me when I re-listened and remembered what the instrumentals beneath the vocals sounded like.

‘Move To It’ has these disconcerting synths in the same ball-park as the liminal spaces of Stereolab and Broadcast, but the vocals manage to feel weirdly old-timey. It works in a way that a lot of the album does, by creating this atmosphere of disquiet. The dual vocals at the end of the song bring the whole track together. 

‘Motosaka’ took me a bit of googling at first. I initially was surprised to hear what I recognised as ‘Thousand Knives’ by Ryuichi Sakamoto (one of the all time big bangers), although I was to discover the song is actually a tribute to him and Yellow Magic Orchestra. The remixed parts of the song mixed with the vocal harmonies works really well and is perhaps the best song on the album.

On ‘Brick’ I am deeply and oddly satisfied by the moments in which the lyrics are said slowly (“Brick by brick”) and then sped up and squeezed into the bar (‘It’s so strange to think we never planned to stay’). “Can You See” has some of the most infectious synths and beats on the record that are only emphasised by the vocal reverb at the end of the song.

‘I Am 1’ has some of the most beautiful vocal delivery on the record, reminding me of artists like Weyes Blood. It begins very slowly but as the guitars come in halfway through it turns into an epic, cathartic rammer.  “She Walks In Beauty” starts with Boards of Canada-esque synths, but its slow eeriness pulls it more in the way of chamber pop.

‘Spring Beach’ makes me feel like I’m in a video game. The spiralling keys make me feel like I’m navigating one of the tougher levels of Celeste. The echoing line “I’ve been searching for clues” adds to the mythological nature of the track. Closing track ‘Cornerhouse’ is one you can sway to. It ends the record back in the place it started; the land of uncanny valley. There’s an almost childlike atmosphere. Imagine an exceptionally well-produced nursery rhyme. It’s a great closer to a record full of unease.

Co-Pilot will play Quarry on the 16th November.

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