ALBUM REVIEW: Bad Cop Bad Cop – The Ride (Fat Wreck Chords)

Bad Cop Bad Cop are an all-girl punk band who were formed in Los Angeles, California, in 2011, and this is their third album.

The band consists of Stacey Dee and Jennie Cotterill on vocals and guitar, Linh Le on bass and Myra Gallarza on drums, and the fact that their label boss Fat Mike (of NOFX) is a big fan should give you an idea of the esteem in which they’re held.

Their last record, 2017’s Warriors, was a pretty angry one, recorded in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election as US president. Here, over 12 tracks, they turn that anger into positivity and also give us songs which are more personal than ever before.

Take the remarkably upbeat Breastless, Dee’s take on being diagnosed with stage one breast cancer towards the end of 2018. Happily, it was caught early and treatable, but many will empathise when she sings “I’m feeling restless, a little reckless/amidst so much uncertainty and the possibility/of being breastless, leaving me breathless”.

Bassist Linh Le, whose family are originally from Vietnam, brings to the table two songs about what it’s like to be an immigrant in Trump’s increasingly divided America.

Certain Kind Of Monster and the Bad Religion-like Pursuit Of Liberty are among the album’s highlights, and prove that while Bad Cop Bad Cop’s sound might be radio-friendly pop-punk, their lyrics pack a punch.

On the latter, Le sings: “All of the people still watching their backs/Hiding in fear, covering their tracks/Could this be the start of the 4th Reich?/This isn’t what freedom looks like”. Powerful, thought-provoking stuff.

Elsewhere, Community espouses the virtues of being part of the punk rock scene (“Well, I’m the strongest I’ve ever been and you all helped me to believe”), while I Choose is an anthem to positivity.

All the components we’ve come to expect from BCBC are present throughout most of The Ride: big guitars, a locked-in rhythm section, intricate vocal harmonies, and bucketloads of attitude.

The most untypical song is the closing Sing With Me, built around acoustic guitar, piano, and Cotterill’s voice, which exhorts: “Sing with me/Or sing your own song/I don’t mind/Just as long as you find/A voice.” In these days of empowerment, I’ve heard few simpler rallying calls. 8/10.

Bad Cop Bad Cop at Rebellion Festival in Blackpool in 2018. Pic: Gary Welford.
Gary Welford
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ipamusic.co.uk owner