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WILLOW – ‘>COPINGMECHANISM<’ review: the peaks and troughs of musical soul

By Roxann Yus | 18/10/22

WILLOW has been my new obsession for a few months now. Ever since the gradual tease of new releases for the album, I’ve been hooked on the concoction of sound and soul guiding this project. The peaks and troughs throughout its entirety as well as each individual track are yet so seamless, which is really the highest form of compliment I can give to music makers.

The album begins with possibly its strongest song in my opinion: <maybe> it’s my fault. This might also be because it’s the song I’ve listened to most prior to the album’s release. Nonetheless, vintage guitar chords, a soul-infused pop-punk genre and ballad vocals showcase WILLOW’s vocals at their peak. But despite all this, there is still this head-bang quality about the song that puts WILLOW at the centre of emerging alternative rock.

Falling Endlessly then transforms those vintage chords into classic rock riffs. But the most impressive riffs of the whole album belong to <Coping Mechanism>, the title track of the album. WILLOW puts a pin into every corner of the spectrum of rock music and reclaims it as if they invented it all in the first place. And this type of power in artistry is driven by a unique soul and relationship with lyricism and sound, something that was the unavoidable string throughout the 2015 album ARDIPITHECUS.

And although <COPINGMECHANISM> seems totally unfamiliar to ARDIPITHECUS on the surface, it is, again, driven by this element I can only describe as soul. It’s star power. It’s when you don’t need to be too familiar with an artist and their work to hear a new song and know it belongs to them.

And as I said, this is applicable to peaks, troughs, and everything in between. Split is a great example of a musical trough in the album that utilises instrumental minimalism and focuses largely on vocals and lyrics. Yet, at the same time, it utilises powerful uproars that continue that wavering pattern in this project.

It’s not only levels of softness regarding instruments that WILLOW plays with either. Indeed, their vocals throughout are very consistent: bold, strong, and with a ballad-like quality, but WILLOW also toys with soft vocals, especially in verses, and even heavier and screamier ones, like in ur a <stranger>. This reaches the pin of nu-metal and punk, which is an extremely good look on WILLOW. Even Perfectly Not Close To Me highlights their spikey, punky vocals that contrast magically with Yves Tumor’s softness.

I’m brave enough to say this might be the best release of 2022. It is just everything I could possibly want out of a musical project. Yet, each song has a repeatable quality if you’re more of a playlist curator than an album streamer.

Check out <COPINGMECHANISM> on Spotify now!


Edited by: Roxann Yus

Cover image taken from the album cover for <COPINGMECHANISM> by WILLOW via Wikipedia.

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