Cooper is a retro pop/rock band from Spain. Their sound, adorned by lush vocal harmonies, hooky, ringing guitar work, and cracking, crisp beats, crosses mid-'60s, Brit-style mod pop with American-influenced blue-eyed soul and the energetic accessibility of mid-'90s indie bands such as Fountains of Wayne and the Rembrandts as evidenced by their self-titled offering in 2001 and 2005's Retrovisor.
Cooper was founded in 1999 by frontman/songwriter Alejandro Diez, who until 1998 led Spain's legendary, mod-rock outfit Los Flechazos. He recruited drummer Carlos Torero (ex-Radio Futura), bassist McCartney (ex-Sex Museum), and guitarist Mario Alvarez (of Popels). After intense writing and rehearsal sessions, Cooper signed with stalwart Spanish indie label Elefant and issued their debut long-player Fonorama. The band spent over a year touring in support, and making appearances at several high-profile Spanish music festivals (ContemPOPranea, Benicassim, BAM, and Lemon Pop). Cooper returned with the single "747" in 2003. After more touring, they dropped "Oxidado" the following year. The tracks from both releases were combined with three new tracks and released as part of their sophomore long-player Retrovisor in 2004. Taking the Spanish rock press by storm, the band got major radio play, hit the rock charts, and sold out virtually every show they played. After a short break, Diez issued a manifesto via the press entitled "10 Reasons to Never Release Another Album." His strategy was to live a pop life one single at a time and always keep the punters wanting more. This economical approach to recording resulted in two more EPs -- 2006's Dias de Cine and 2007's Guárdame un Secreto -- over the next four years; the latter peaked at number two on the Spanish singles charts. Cooper's follow-up single, 2008's "Lemon Pop," did even better, holding the number one spot on the Spanish singles charts for seven consecutive weeks following its release. Cooper's third full-length, Aeropuerto, was a compilation of singles and rare tracks, amounting to a best-of. Released the following spring, it outsold both previous singles combined. After more touring, they issued the single "RSGo" b/w a live version of the track "Mi Universo" for Record Store Day in 2011. Later that year, Cooper traveled to London's famous Konk Studios (home to recordings by Diez's idols the Kinks as well as Blur, Elvis Costello, the Arctic Monkeys, Suede, and Spiritualized), and finished a full-length (in direct contradiction to his singles manifesto). Titled Mi Universo (with a studio version of the track on the set), it offered Diez's most personal collection of songs without sacrificing the power or energy of earlier releases. The set briefly topped Spain's album charts and made the band headliners on national summer festival stages. They followed it in 2012 with a digital single featuring the album track "Cortometraje" b/w a cover of Depeche Mode's "New Life." Later in the year they mined Mi Universo further for "Arizona" b/w with a cover of Spanish rock standard "Tú Me Dijiste Adiós," originally by Los Brincos. Issued in an edition of only 500 copies, it sold out in days. Cooper weren't done, however. Elefant Records, in collaboration with the band and publisher Ediciones Chelsea, released a double-DVD titled A Proposito de Mi Universo -- a DVD/book package that included ten videos from the band's virtual tour of different online music sites for the release of Mi Universo. It also included the 80-minute documentary El Regalo, directed by Juan Marigorta, which captured the recording of Mi Universo at Konk Studios, plus live footage. The package also included a 52-page book with more than 130 color images of Cooper, tickets, posters, and alternate album covers as well as a historical essay by music journalist Javier Becerra. They had planned to tour behind it in December, but Diez was injured in a motorcycle accident, postponing the dates until later that winter. The tour eventually took place that spring and summer and included venues where the documentary film was screened in addition to a concert.
Cooper took an extended and well-deserved break until 2014, when they issued the single titled "Los Veranos Son Para Soñar," comprised of the original "Entre Girasoles" (a pre-release track from the forthcoming mini-album UHF), and a wildly revisioned cover of "Silver Dollar Sunday" by American power pop band the Lolas, translated to "Dólar de la Suerte." Unlike the original, Cooper's version juxtaposed electronics alongside standard instrumental fare. Critics went so far as to compare the recording to works by Teenage Fanclub and Sloan. The aforementioned UHF contained six tracks in a limited-edition vinyl/audio disc package that sold out immediately. It was reissued in a special edition for 2015's Record Store Day alongside a remastered deluxe edition of Fonorama. Cooper took on an extensive tour in support, staying out on the road for a year in Spain and playing select European festivals. The band resurfaced in early 2018 with the single and video for "Infinito" as a pre-release for the ten-track Tiempo, Temperatura, Agitación, the band's fifth album, issued in the spring of 2018 and followed by a national tour. ~ Thom Jurek
- Madrid, Spain