Channing Cope: Sugar In Our Blood

Channing Cope
Sugar In Our Blood
(North Park)

Good music has two characteristics: it reaches in to touch you in some personal way, and it opens new doors to pull you out, introducing something you’ve never heard before. Of course these are general and subjective criteria, but Channing Cope makes them relevant by expertly synthesizing these known and unknown aspects in their six-song album Sugar In Our Blood. You knew that simple quarter-note melodies have the potential to be beautiful, but you didn’t know that the result could be mysterious and serious.

This is the type of album that you know you will like within the first 10 seconds of the first track. The three-member band sticks to the minimum: a guitar (Kenny Shulte), a bass (Ali Deniz Ozkan) and a drum set (Chris Conner), with sparse, whisper-soft and whisper-intense vocals. With very little distortion, minimal effects and an overall low-tech tone, Channing Cope doesn’t need to hide behind any make-up.

Instead, they rely on durable chord progressions that build throughout these five-minute songs mainly through repetitive instrumental craftwork. The result is drifting, new-gazer music with a beat. Sometimes, as in “From Sky to Core,” the drums pick up and create an almost aggressive and painful condition. But overall, Channing Cope is a quiet band, what you might hear while sitting in a dark closet: not as scarier as contemplative. Appropriately, listening to Sugar In Our Blood multiple times reinforces the fact that this band put a lot of careful thought into these 30 minutes, which are dense and somehow timeless. You can hear the need for music clearly on this album.
~ Lisa Zyga