My first experience with Copeland was “Ixora” and I fell in love with that album. That inspired me to check out their back catalog and honestly after covering about 4 other releases I never came across one that excited and moved me the same way that “Ixora” did. Truth is though I liked a few of Copeland’s songs I thought that most were just okay. Turned out Aaron Marsh wasn’t my bag after all. But I still hoped that I would get another inspiring album in “Blushing” and I ended up being disappointed.
While “Ixora” was a slow album it had nice moments of emotional punctuation as well as some very good orchestration. And while I can hear elements of “Ixora” and older Copeland throughout “Blushing” it ends up being more of the same but by and large without the moments. So Marsh often employs a lot of high sighs and cooing melodies and that’s exactly how lead track “Pope” from its first strains starts out. While not as pronounced through the rest of the album it still made me groan a little and pushed my feeling of wanting something different so every time I heard those sighs and that whispered singing relief it started to irritate me. But that wasn’t a breaker for me. Two other elements popped up (enough) to make me mark this as my least favorite Copeland release: 1) an almost unrelenting slow pace/ tempo (for our ear’s sake please mix in some more mid-tempo songs!—some will point out that “Colorless” cranks up some toward the end of the song but at track 7 of the album it comes in a little late) that is sometimes agonizingly accentuated by a lot of very subdued musical elements and (2) programming elements that have a weird stop/ start quality; it’s as if at times the music is taking you somewhere to suddenly break off and track back a few seconds and repeat and go on and, as you can then imagine, that added to the feeling of drag over an already slow tempo. Several songs have an almost lounge quality to them and “Night Figures” even features some finger snaps. I’m all for placing inventive sounds, or in the case of the finger snaps not often heard sounds, into the music and Marsh and co. certainly give us a variety of sound but those snaps stick out like the proverbial sore thumb. Meanwhile Marsh’s main lyrical tendency of focusing on romantic moments or memories or lost romance also begs for something new from his talent.
So where does that leave me when I’m left blushing? For my tastes “Pope” turns out okay, “As Above, So Alone” has some interesting and mildly engaging twists, and the chorus and melody of “Strange Flower” stand out as the album’s best tracks but none hold a candle to most of what I had come across on “Ixora”. I know that I’ll still keep my ear open toward Copeland’s output in hope and maybe “Blushing” will slowly grow on me but so far after 4 listens I won’t be gushing over “Blushing”. 2.5 stars.