Cop Shoot Cop
by Joe Hacking
I’m a sucker for any band that utilizes the bass guitar as a primary instrument. I’m also keen on bands that let their anger and hatred spew forth like briny discharge. With two bass players and truckloads of Brooklyn-grown anger, Cop Shoot Cop are the kings of Low End Hate.
But don’t think for a moment that they take themselves too seriously. “I don’t know how to read or write music,” states Jack Nantz, the low-end bassist. “We’re not really musicians,” adds Tod Ashley, the high-end bassist/vocalist/co-founder of the band. “Our music is based on what sounds good.”
And how exciting is their sound? Well, their new album, Release (due out September 6) is one of those rare works that can catch a listener on the anger factor alone. Frustration drips from the CD like toxic waste from a treatment plant.
Drummer Phil Puleo hammers away on cooking pots, giant cheese graters and other percussive devices. Keyboardist-sampler Crippler Jim Coleman supports CSC’s bass-laden sound with all manner of sound effects, while newest member Steve McMillen provides guitar and trumpet noises. And, of course, there are Ashley and Nantz’ basses groaning at various speeds. The result is a musical topography of city moods and attitudes interwoven with cynical, frustrated, antisocial lyrics. Nothing escapes their disenfranchised emotional state – these guys are dissatisfied with you, me AND themselves.
The second track, “It Only Hurts When I Breathe,” with its shuffling, hesitant march and dual-bass-burble-throb, writhes and struggles like two winos fighting over the last, backwashed sip of Thunderbird. “Last Legs” sounds like a city street at night, full of nasty thoughts, honking horns and the whoosh of cars passing at unlawful speeds. “Slackjaw” sounds like a raunchy, dangerous streetcorner in the bad part of town.
But always, the album leads you into that feeling of despondency and go-nowhere frustration which befalls many a human being. CSC scrapes the layer of sugar-coating from life to expose the frustration and disappointment which every participant in Western Civilization has felt. And the best part is that these guys aren’t kidding. This is no marketing ploy. They’re pissed and they’re not trying to impress anybody. This is what gives CSC’s music its honesty, its rawness, a purity that few signed bands possess.
Hopefully, Cop Shoot Cop will keep steady aim upon their pure, dark view of the American Dream as they get closer to living it.