Recommended If You Like: Walk The Moon, Passion Pit, Neon Trees
Summertime: It’s a concept as much as it is a season. Summer means warmth and sunshine, short sleeves and dresses, ease and relaxation, long car rides along a coast and basking outside in the hot weather.
“Basking;” the word alone feels “summery.” We take pleasure in the idea of frolicking under the warmth of that hot summer sun, enjoying a golden afternoon with green grass or sand underneath our feet. “Summer” evokes the happy-go-lucky sounds of artists like the Beach Boys – sounds that we know have deeper, darker meanings, but nevertheless feel deceptively peaceful and innocent on the surface. Every summer needs its corresponding soundtrack: A curated playlist of songs that embody the spirit of summer.
There is no hard and fast rule establishing what counts as “summer” music, but we know it when we hear it. COIN’s new single “Talk Too Much” captures that free-spirited nature of the summer.
You know I talk too much
Honey, come put your lips on mine
And shut me up
We could blame it all on human nature
Stay cool, it’s just a kiss
Oh, why you gotta be so talkative?
I talk too much, we talk too much
Listen: “Talk Too Much” – COIN
It’s been a long time since we heard from COIN: “Talk Too Much” is the first single from COIN since the Nashville indie pop/rock band released their self-titled debut album last June. Our conversation with frontman Chase Lawrence at the time gave deeper insight into the band’s sound and narrative: COIN is not your run-of-the-mill indie pop band – in fact, they don’t even consider themselves to be “indie pop.” I previously observed how COIN’s music is harder hitting, crisper, and catchier than that of their peers; how they bring a palpable, infectiously vibrant energy to each of their songs. “We love bands like The Cure, Psychedelic Furs, The Strokes – these are the bands that influenced us,” says Lawrence. “I understand that we have that ‘Top 40’ sound that Walk The Moon is making so popular, and we realized when making this record that we had the capability of making something sounding generic – that wasn’t generic at the time, but now is. We sat down with our producer, and said, “We like records like these, and we want to make a good pop record,” but at the same time we’re a rock band making guitar-driven music in a world that’s totally synth-driven.”
A rock band making guitar-driven music in a world that’s totally synth-driven.
That last line always stuck out to me. COIN’s debut was very clean – both in terms of musical output, as well as physical presentation. As far as the latter is concerned, both the band’s debut EP, as well as their full-length album’s cover art (pictured) were all white: White lights; white room; white everything. The album was equally “clean”: Bright and catchy Walk The Moon-style pop songs are performed with the fervor of The Strokes in their prime: Overdriven guitars rattle and hum with hi-fi perfection, often sharing melodic responsibilities with shimmering synth lines. Frontman Chase Lawrence’s edgy, golden vocals are reminiscent of Phoenix’s Thomas Mars and Neon Trees’ Tyler Glenn, adding to the sonic mix that extra sparkle that makes every song on the record truly pop. COIN’s debut offered music that shined beautifully, but its substance was muddled down to universal messages that could be easily ingested. It was always a surprise to me, then, that Lawrence took as hard-and-fast a defense to his band’s sound and genre assignment as he did.
It betrayed the true genius of COIN: A highly-opinionated and intelligent group of musicians burying their souls in layers of rock-influenced pop music and pop-influenced rock music. What a smart move: Introduce yourselves in a simplistic context, and reveal more over time.
“Talk Too Much” shows COIN taking that first step past the introductory phase, inching themselves out to show more of themselves. “Talk Too Much” is opinionated; it’s critical, making it one of COIN’s most honest works yet.
Caffeine, small talk
Wait out the plastic weather
Mmhmm, uh uh, discussing current events
I’ll take my time
I’m not the forward thinker
You read my mind
Better to leave it unsaid
Why can’t I leave it unsaid?
My biggest issue with COIN was that I feared their music lacked deeper substance, but “Talk Too Much” shows a band assuming fuller identities. Lawrence sings, “Mmhmm, uh uh, discussing current events,” in the first verse, and “New wave, no time, red velvet under pressure; blah blah, green eyes…” in the second verse. It’s a bit of a slap in the face to the loudmouthed type – a commonality of the millennial generation. It’s a “fuck you” to those who spew opinions and facts out of their ass; who regurgitate half-digested information they absorbed from a television (or better yet, computer) screen; who liberally speak their mind without considering the ramifications or consequences of their actions.
COIN’s accusation doesn’t point the finger at any group in particular; in fact, the chorus’ admission of “I talk too much, we talk too much” finds the subject surpassing an individual level entirely, so that “Talk Too Much” can be understood as a critique of all individuals.
But “Talk Too Much” is more than that. It’s an observation that there are only so many hours of the day, so why spend that time talking when you could be doing something else? “You know I talk too much. Honey, come put your lips on mine and shut me up,” sings Lawrence. Shut up and kiss me! The words echo throughout generations of movies and plays, each of them observing humanity’s interpersonal interactions and how we deal with the ramblings of each successive generation.
It comes as no surprise that “Talk Too Much” is the easiest song Lawrence has ever written: “In a few hours, we wrote a song about my inability to leave it unsaid. I’m gonna stop there.” Smart man; anything more and he would be overstepping into the song’s territory.
So back to that free-spirited summer song concept: How do COIN shape their lyrics into something fun, easygoing and digestible? By masking it as a bouncy, feelgood tune. “Talk Too Much” is a striking visual change for the band, with its vibrant reds and blues. A red sweater draped over a table; a single plastic flower behind a partially-eaten cake that reads “talk too much” (ironic, no?) and an empty can with lipstick stains: The scene is still clean and polished, but everything’s a little dirtier than last time. Everything’s a little more suggestive, and yet COIN’s logo remains big and bold in its purest-white font.
And then there’s the music itself: Bouncy, shimmering guitars create a go-getter attitude that Lawrence plays into with the verses’ short, staccato lines. The song feels laid back; you can wave your hands around and bob your head to it, walk down the street with a positive gait as you jam out to the “feelgood chorus.” Lawrence screams out the lyrics, embedding layers of unabashed energy into his band’s new rocker. There’s no doubt that “Talk Too Much” is a summer jam: It’s got the warmth and the speed necessary to jumpstart summer 2016. It’s unforgiving by nature, and equally carefree: COIN want to have fun, and they make no attempt to be anything but obvious about it.
Perhaps one of the reasons for this is that their “summer jam” is as deceptively carefree as the idea of summer is deceptive to the actual season itself. “Summer” the concept and “summer” the season never line up as perfectly as we envision them, but it’s a nice fairy tale we tell ourselves during the other nine months of the year. “Talk Too Much” is sonically bright and frolicking, but lyrically critical. It’s catchy enough to be a huge summer song, and deep enough to show a band growing and changing.
tl;dr – Never underestimate the depth of a song.
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:: COIN Upcoming Tour Dates ::
5/13 – Shaky Knees Festival – Atlanta, GA
5/28 – Skyline Park – Denver,CO
6/9 – The Shelter – Detroit, MI
6/10 – A&R Music Bar – Columbus, OH
6/14 – The Grey Eagle – Asheville,NC
6/16 – Mr. Smalls Thatre – Pittsburgh, PA
6/17 – Firefly Festival – Dover, DE