The Cops – Why Kids Go Wrong EP

The Cops
Why Kids Go Wrong EP

The Cops are a refreshingly blunt quartet from Seattle with their fair share of the punk spirit of 76. Their unselfconscious brand of smash-mouth rock and the politically charged lyrics sound good after listening to too much self-absorbed loner music and too much post-rock cleverness. Keep sending me that stuff too, though!

The musicians make mention of their fondness for the Clash, but they also capture the era’s general spirit of abandon and release as found in bands like the Buzzcocks or Husker Du. The five songs that make up this EP all rock pretty convincingly, and the bands’ eagerness alongside likeably rabble-rousing lyrics such as “Protect yourself from the man / The man who fights what he can’t understand” largely make up for what Why Kids Go Wrong lacks in exceptional material.

“Waiting List” is best of the lot though, hard-panned choppy guitars setting up what sounds to be another variation on the new-new-wave of the Futureheads and such but ends up a much rougher beast. Michael Jaworski’s gruff voice and the sharp, punchy production help, too, very live and loud. It’s especially nice on the thumping tom-toms of “Working the Wall” as they drive the song through the blue-collar chant of its verse to the bashing simplicity of the chorus. It’s not a great song or anything, but the band has good chemistry and the playing is fired-up throughout Why Kids Go Wrong, so it works. The taunting “Don’t Take it Personal Dave” is also a hoot in spite/because of the pestering vocal that nags at the songs’ namesake, not sounding particularly concerned with whether Dave takes it personal or not. It’s built on a dirty Dave Davies-inspired riff, nicely primitive and coarse, with a spasmodic solo thrown in to boot.

As I have no law enforcement metaphors at my disposal, let me just say that Why Kids Go Wrong is a good time. The songs aren’t as memorable as they could be, a little pedestrian in spots, but the Cops (which is a dumb name) make a convincing case for themselves. That’s kind of a legal metaphor, I guess. It’ll have to do.