Album: Kids Raising Kids
Artist: Kopecky Family Band
Details: 11 songs; 39 minutes
Who’s Choice: Deliberate Obfuscation
It was my turn to pick the album to be reviewed this week. Unlike most weeks, I went for something that has been in my library for awhile. It is an album that I already knew that I like very much. This might not be the most repertoire-expanding tact to take, but it served my purpose. The Kopecky Family Band will be playing in Kansas City this week, and I want to go with Dan on my fan-wagon. It was a risk, and as I write this, I still am not 100% sure if it worked or not. (Update: While Dan has a few witty criticisms aimed at the band, he comes away from the listen liking them and looking forward to going to see them.)
Here is what the band is all about. There are six members – only one of whom actually carries the name Kopecky. Their family connection, according to their website and interviews, is cemented by their commitment to each other and their craft. As a proponent of alternative definitions of family, that one works just fine for me.
The album we listened to is their first full-length album, Kids Raising Kids, and it came out in 2012. Before that, the band had put out a couple EPs that I picked up on Noisetrade. As I remember, I liked them from the start. The way this band blends their voices and their instruments is easy to listen to, but not simple.
The Kids Raising Kids title is evocative for me. During a week in which we celebrated Sam’s 29th birthday, I spent time recalling that overwhelming love and awe at his birth. I also remembered how it seemed reckless to let amateurs take this perfect little guy home with them. But, we did fine and we kept him safe. Bringing this back to the album, one of the quietest and loveliest songs on the album is called Change. It includes several passages noting that a look in the eye can be a turning point. Looking into your child’s eyes for the first time gets you. There are lines like that all through the album. You hear it and it resonates. You hear it and you nod. You hear it and you smile.
I don’t want to lead someone unfamiliar with the band to think that this is sappy, emo stuff. The songs go in many different and interesting directions. Main vocals are handled by Kelsey Kopecky and Gabe Simon. Instrumentation and vocals move from simple to expansive; two-part harmony to full-blown Mumford and Son-ish chorus. There is emotional stuff within lyrics that you can delve into, but there is also just good, pleasurable listening to be had.
To sit around and make music together that sounds good, is meaningful to you, and makes other people listen, seems pretty great. The Kopecky Family Band seems to be having fun with that life. And I think that they are going to be awesome to see live!
Next Up: Songs of Innocence by U2