Rewind to a music theory class at Belmont University in 2012 where two students, Chase Lawrence and Joe Memmel, met and started making music together. Not long after, Ryan Winnen and Zachary Dyke soon joined them and COIN was born. Fast forward and COIN started playing shows, signed with Columbia Records, and had songs on the Billboard charts. Fast forward again, to the present day, and COIN has just released their third album “Dreamland.” The album comes after two years on tour, a split with bassist Zachary Dyke, and the announcement of their own record label “The Committee for Sound & Mind.” Their success speaks volumes on the power of independent artists and the impact of their own constant commitment to their unique musical identity.
“Dreamland” is a reflection, or a record, of their two years on tour. None of the songs were produced in a studio, but instead the tracks are a brilliant entanglement of voice memos and laptop recordings that are energetically saturated with raw emotions and memories of wherever they were on the road. Each song on the album has a similar infectious beat and an ’80s-inspired influence, while also experimenting with different synthesizer sounds and choirs. The album is like a journal of their growth and it open-heartedly embraces this new kind of creative musicianship that is free from the pressure to sound a certain way.
One standout song from “Dreamland” is “Cemetery,” which reflects on how fleeting and destructive wealth is in comparison to being present in relationships. The song is inspired by lead singer Chase Lawrence constantly seeing the tombstone that they used as a set prop for their last album cover. This sense of inevitable impermanence and search for sentiment that pervades “Cemetery” seems to connect back to “Don’t Cry 2020” from their last album, which confronted the fear of growing and getting older. This comparison between the two songs further seems to reflect their growth as a band, from worrying about what’s next to being confronted with a choice and finally finding freedom in how they want to be remembered.
The last song, “Let It All Out (10:05),” is also a standout, as it has an unshakeable feeling of pure emotion that overflows and melts into itself with simple cathartic lyrics that strike a familiar, universal, heart-felt chord. The number “10:05” is especially important to Lawrence, as he reveals that it has appeared throughout his entire life, whether he’s seen it on clocks or the remaining change at restaurants. He describes its meaning to him as a reminder to listen to his own heartbeat and focus on being present. The song is the perfect capstone to the album, as it finds a sense of clarity in chaos and a sense of freedom in surrender.
The new album as a whole is like a time capsule expressing this explicit choice to be present and create without any limitations or fear of what anyone else thinks. It is simply COIN, and it unashamedly tells the story of who they are and how they’ve grown in the past two years.