Every so often, our resident vinyl lover, Kiel Hauck, takes the time to talk about a recent vinyl release and gives a breakdown about everything from packaging to sound quality. Here’s his latest installment.
Copeland fans have had a lot to crow about since last April’s announcement that the band was reuniting to release their fifth full-length album. On the day of the news, thousands of Copeland fans rushed to preorder vinyl copies of Ixora with the promise that the record would be ready by the fall. While the album was released on time, the vinyl copies were held up due to a manufacturing error that required a complete repressing.
At the end of January, good news finally came – the vinyl copies were ready and would begin shipping immediately. Now that we have them in hand, the question is, was it worth the wait? Let’s take a look.
Packaging and Presentation
As with most Copeland releases, the album artwork is gorgeous. The simple shots of ocean were taken by Anberlin’s Nate Young, and they’re quite peaceful – much like the album itself. This release is a gatefold with an insert, which serves as the inner sleeve. The record opens into a view of more ocean with some liner notes and a superimposed ixora flower. Overall, the package is lightweight and easy to handle. The inner record sleeve features song lyrics in the album title font.
A few options of color were given for this pressing: 3,000 white, 3,000 black and 300 blue with white splatter. I received a blue copy, and the vinyl itself is quite pretty. While this particular color isn’t 180 gram, it does have a wonderful white starburst effect on the soft blue record. In short, it’s fun to look at and matches up with the album artwork quite nicely. There’s no download card – a digital download of the album was sent upon Ixora’s release.
Sound and Quality
The manufacturing defect reportedly had to due with the pressing’s sound quality and left the band unwilling to ship it to their fans. There have been a few reports of minor scratches or even high-pitched background noise on certain variants of this pressing, but I’m pleased to report that I was unable to detect a defect on my copy. In fact, the album plays extremely smooth – I found the sound to be more full and rich on this pressing than I had experienced via the mp3 files.
The bass surprised me the most. While I hadn’t noticed it as much when streaming the album, it sounds deep here and melts into the overall mix. I first noticed this on the quiet and gentle “I Can Make You Feel Young Again” – a song that takes full advantage of Aaron Marsh’s otherworldy vocals and blends them against a backdrop of keys, soft guitar tones and a rich bassline. Because each track on this album is so unique, it’s exciting to hear how each presents itself on this vinyl release.
I was already a huge fan of Ixora, but hearing it on vinyl has captured me even more. This band can do no wrong, and even with a lengthy delay, Ixora is a must-own vinyl release for Copeland fans. I own each Copeland record released thus far, and I have to say that this is my favorite pressing in terms of sound, with 2013’s Eat, Sleep, Repeat pressing coming in a close second.
Last year saw re-presses of You Are My Sunshine and In Motion and this spring will bring the re-pressing of Beneath Medicine Tree (of which there are still a few preorder copies available). Ixora is sold out for now, but if you run across a copy, don’t hesitate to snatch it up.
by Kiel Hauck
Kiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.
Looks like a really beautiful record…unfortunately, I did not fall in love with this one like I did “You are My Sunshine.” Thanks for the heads up on “Beneath Medicine Tree.” It’s a great one.
Can’t wait for the “Beneath Medicine Tree” record to arrive. It may be my favorite of theirs, but I love them all.