Brendan Cope - if now we are in pieces (Album Review)

Is our willingness to trust an artist to be sincere based solely on intuition? In his paper "Trust and Sincerity in Art", C. Thi Nguyen of the University of Utah wrote, "In aesthetic life, we trust each other to follow our own paths, so that it is more meaningful when we do cross paths." Any listener who finds themself on the path of Oregonian artist Brendan Cope is sure to find meaningful moments that are as sincere as they are exploratively rewarding. 

Cope's debut album, "if now we are in pieces", is a tightly assembled jigsaw puzzle of glitchy electronics, soulful singing, and confessional lyricism abundant in emotion throughout its 11 tracks. In a type of mutated electronic indie r&b pop, Cope delivers his vocals in an Alt-J-Esque style that adds nuanced character to the soulful and tapestried mixes which conjure the ear-catching delicacies of Bon Iver while providing enough idiosyncrasy to ensure a fresh listening experience.

After the beguilingly experimental intro "During This Life", the radio-friendly sheen of "Falling in Love" is edgily manicured to escape the parameters of traditional song structures or consistent rhythm. Cope challenges awareness with the thought-provoking chorus line "Do you even understand how it different it could be?" as soft piano keys clang before guest collaborator Nosila brings a feminine charm that vocally contrasts Cope's and adds a new layer of mood. However, on tracks like "I Couldn't Even Tell You" and "I'm Going Nowhere", Cope proves to be a competently sweet singer capable of carrying vocal duties for the remainder of the album. 

Where the commercial-pop leanings of "Your Party" can sometimes get lost in its own lachrymose tendencies, the auto-tuned industrialism of the brilliant album highlight "Taurus SZN" bangs with abstraction and wonderfully intimate moments ("I can't do this for much longer")Perhaps it's easy to trust that Brendan Cope is sincere because there's evidence in his technique here that shows that, if he so wanted, these colourfully art-pop songs could've been streamlined to accessibility. Yet, Cope willfully imbues his recordings with jarring production choices, odd musical phrases, and multi-sectioned songs, which give rise to an infectious sense of romance and expression.