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Album Review: The Coop- A Fleeting Glimpse EP

We’re spoiled living in Chicago. We have a slew of up-and-coming bands who are on the verge of shaking that ‘local band’ label, right on the cusp of doing much bigger things. And one of those bands is the jamtronica group The Coop. There is no denying that these guys have slowly crept up the hierarchy of Chicago bands, both in terms of polish and draw at the door. This four-piece band, consisting of Danny Biggins (guitar, synth, vocals), Cason Trager (bass, synths, laptop), Joe Re (keys), and Jacob Barinholtz (drums, percussion), have completely found their stride of late, culminating in the release of their newest EP: A Fleeting Glimpse.

When listening to this album, I found myself constantly being reminded of other jamtronica bands. Certain elements from the sounds of STS9, Lotus, Conspirator, and Papadosio are can be heard. Yet, at no point does it feel like they are ripping directly from any one band’s approach. They have a knack for sounding reminiscent of others while staying in their own lane with a fresh sound that’s simultaneously cerebral and danceable. It’s hard to deny the similarities with other bands but don’t let the comparisons to take anything away from The Coop’s work. What they’ve created here is a solid base for expansion to the next level. And while a full album would have been really nice to hear, it’s clear that they’re well on their way to doing some major work (e.g., getting added to the Electric Forest lineup!).

The album begins appropriately enough with the title track: “A Fleeting Glimpse.” Which is fitting because this might be the best overall song. It starts off innocently enough with some quick electronic percussion but soon slides into a sexy jamtronic groove. It builds steam with some Hunter Brown-esque (STS9) guitar work from Biggins, but with the introduction of an Ace Of Base sample (it sounds much better than it looks) the drop hits and the song takes off in a uniquely Coop direction. This track is a guaranteed dance floor bonfire. The next song, “Fiber Octopus” is a generally gentle thing that eventually finds a searing, guitar-driven peak that hearkens to the attitude of Mike Rempel’s work with Lotus. Already the first two songs have two totally different textures, which is a great way to kick off any album.

The middle track is called “Next Year” and this where the Conspirator flavor comes through. This one’s got a lot of energy, with bold synths and more brutish guitar. The menacing vibe of this song is led by the strong drumming of Barinholtz, but he also sneaks in some hand drumming sounds to relax the tension and create some great inter-song dynamics. “Mindfully Enough” is the next track and the only one with lyrics. It’s got this creamy vibe and with the distorted vocals of Biggins, this one definitely has a similar feeling of lusciousness that Papadosio offers. The album comes to a close with a song that basically defies comparison: “Obsess No Less.” There isn’t any direct influence to name here, just a high-octane barn burner of a song. This one packs row upon row of razor sharp teeth, ready to grind up anything in its path. It’s the biggest explosion on the album and its placement at the end only leaves one wanting more– a great strategy. The sequence of the songs is well-conceived and the album, while obviously a short EP length, provides plenty to let you know that The Coop means business.

The official release party for this EP takes place at Abbey Pub on April 28th with special guests Roster McCabe and My Boy Elroy. The show is 21+, tickets are only $10, and are available here: The Coop at Abbey Pub tickets

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Jeremy Frazier is the editor-in-chief of Soundfuse.