CD Copperopolis [Grant Lee Buffalo] (CD 1132912),
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Copperopolis [Grant Lee Buffalo]
Grant Lee Buffalo
2. Bridge, The
3. Arousing Thunder
4. Even the Oxen
7. Bethlehem Steel
8. All That I Have
9. Two & Two
10. Better for Us
11. Hyperion and Sunset
12. Comes to Blows
13. Only Way Down, The
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 5002
Grant Lee Buffalo: Grant-Lee Phillips (vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, banjo, mandolin, harmonica); Paul Kimble (vocals, piano, pump organ, Mellotron, bass, orbit); Joey Peters (marimba, drums, tumbuk, tambourine, Tibetan bells, shakers).
Additional personnel: Greg Leisz (pedal steel guitar); Bob Fergo (violin); Ralph Carney (bass clarinet, saxophone).
Recorded at Cherokee Studios, Hollywood, California.
All tracks have been digitally mastered using HDCD technology.
1996's Copperopolis is an album that lurks in a strange sort of limbo -- it's a fine record that also happens to be Grant Lee Buffalo's weakest LP. Grant Lee Phillips was still writing fine songs and his voice was as compelling as ever, but the relative simplicity of the group's first album, Fuzzy, had fallen by the wayside as Phillips, percussionist Joey Peters and producer and multi-instrumentalist Paul Kimble embraced the possibilities of the studio and while the more layered sound is often striking, the simpler dynamics of Fuzzy are ultimately more powerful. While the group was clearly still capable of making good music together, there's also a sense that Grant Lee Buffalo was starting to reach the end of their possibilities on these sessions, and as strong as the tunes are from a melodic standpoint, lyrically they were becoming cryptic to the point of having no clear meaning. Significantly, most of Copperopolis' faults don't become clear until after repeated listenings; the surfaces of this album are lovely and impressive, but the nooks and crannies don't hold the telling secrets of this group's earlier works. Copperopolis would prove to be the last album from the original Grant Lee Buffalo lineup, and while the music they made on these sessions is often beautiful, it never reaches the heights this group seems capable of, even if they do come close on a few tunes. ~ Mark Deming
Rolling Stone (6/13/96, p.78) - 3 Stars - Good - "...[evokes] the simple pleasures of small-town America, finding metaphors for life and relationships in a summer rainstorm...and a beaten-up old easy chair. But these romantic visions are juxtaposed against perverted ideals..."
Entertainment Weekly (6/7/96, p.60) - "...This, the band's third effort, has its share of poignant melodies, but the feeling of enervation it induces is deadly." - Rating: B-
Q (7/96, p.110) - 3 Stars - Good - "...A more intensely rendered work than anything they've offered before, it remains rooted in the finely honed languid country of their previous albums....Grant Lee Phillip's lyrical twists have now reached levels of Dylan-like complexity..."
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