It’s a shame there aren’t those little red stop buttons you find on buses in reality. With an endless cycles of political misery spreading like wildfire across all corners of the globe (and twitter), sometimes it would really come in handy to have those little red buttons. Stop the world. I want to get off. Feel the same? So do COPE.
But COPE are angry. And on their new EP Tooth & Nail, that anger is offered as a form of lyrical catharsis that reeks of their influences. Having only been together for two years, the production on their follow-up EP to 2016s Challenge Oppression // Pursue Equality reflects a band still in their infancy, and yet adds to a catalogue that feel like the band getting to grips with their direction that works it’s way through 18 minutes of politically charged vitriol that attempts to get the listener riled up and ready for change.
“Refuse. Resist. Don’t Give In To Fear” shouts TOM WALKER in the EP’s title track. It’s a motto that rears it’s head time and again like a fist raising, battle cry throughout Tooth & Nail. Lyrically COPE don’t shy away from getting straight to the point, in the same way that STRAY FROM THE PATH aren’t afraid to grab you by the proverbial nuts and ram their outrage down your throat. “How much more must we endure / A sorry state of rich V poor / And things really are that bad / Fuck sorrow, you should be mad…” dominates the title track’s chorus, unapologetic upon its delivery bubbling away under a bed of fuzz laden guitars.
The guitar drops in raging opener Stray Bullets makes for an unrelenting, head-bang worthy listen, while grizzly bass segments in Many Faces set that political angst solidly like cement drying in your stomach. There are points on Tooth & Nail, however, where the overall sound feels far too familiar. The beatdowns in Populism are reminiscent of WHILE SHE SLEEPS‘ 2010 album The North Stands For Nothing, but not fully formed; while the rhythms and kicks from Ed Thomson and Rich Guy could easily have been plucked from ATREYU’s The Curse. Even Walker‘s vocals don’t shift dynamically with enough oomph that unfortunately makes lines like “These scumbags have got masks to fix / So lets show em that we are the cure / We won’t stand for hate anymore” sound flat and lost in all the dizzying melodies.
Tooth & Nail is perhaps COPE still catching up with their own sound. With racing speed they reach the EP’s closer The Great Divide without pausing for breathe, or giving their very prevalent subject matter room to sink in. They need their own little red stop button to pause their cacophonous onslaught. Tooth & Nail is a blisteringly vengeful record that yes, does deserve to be turned up loud on first listen, but there’s also plenty here that in time will see the band rise to their full, outspoken potential.
Tooth & Nail is out now via self-release.
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