We last encountered Stevenage iconoclasts, Good Cop, in 2022, when they released their debut EP, Having Fun at Gunpoint. Back then they were a trio with murderous anti-Royal sentiments (“Hang the fucking Queen / Feed the poor”), and now they’ve expanded to a quintet and intensified their hard-line anarcho-leftist ideology. No Country for the Young is proud of its false-grind assault and queercore agitation, but don’t let that ruin your enjoyment of this record. At the same time, don’t be naive enough to think that the creators of this music care for the opinions of the straight white males that listen to their art.
On a musical level, Good Cop are much more severe in their sonic extremity compared with their last record. ‘I Identify as a Death Threat’ is serious enough to be scary and amusing enough to be applauded. You can’t tell which side it falls on. Think powerviolence with blast beats and atonal guitars that barely register chord changes. It’s the sound of nihilistic noise, although you can hear a groove brewing once the drums settle into a regular rhythm. A crusty bass line divides this song in two like a referee holding back two murderous assailants. By contrast, ‘Nice Shot, Nancy Boy!’ starts like Sepultura’s ‘Propaganda’, but the gnarly punk that follows aims its trigger at – you guessed it! – the embodiment of modern evil, also known as the straight white man. The lyrics suggest there might an ironic sexual fantasy here, as seen through the eyes of the homophobic Nazi queer who swings his fists at the song’s protagonist. There’s nothing overproduced in the drum work. Raw emotion and honesty of intent are more important than musicianship to Good Cop.
That’s not to overlook the tasty riffs that sometimes appear on this EP. ‘Hunting Party’ aims to be the new anthem of Britain’s dedicated hunt saboteurs. Guitars throb like salted wounds under a descending chromatic riff. One-take, single-tracked vocals lend it a flavour of spontaneity. Take out the hardcore rage and you have a nu metal bounce riff in the main groove. The bass guitar chugs underneath like an antiquated analogue machine. Listen to the screeching feedback and doom chords in the outro – this is rough. Its words are even harsher: “You neoliberal / You fascist sympathiser / Maggie Thatcher looking up / She is so fucking proud.” (One assumes the author of this stanza is being hyperbolic rather than serious in comparing free market capitalism with fascism.)
The thirty-seven seconds of ‘241 @ Dignitas’ confirm that this band have a sense of humour. Can you think of a more amusing celebration of Switzerland’s most famous euthanasia group? “Two for one at Dignitas / I’m taking you with me.” You’ll play it again out of sheer admiration for its sentiment. Less so with ‘Ol’ Yeller Got the Drop on Me’. This one sees a sliding bass groove fight with noisy guitars in search of a common rhythm, but the result is a menacing chaos (although, to be fair, that’s the whole point).
Punk has a long tradition of bashing the bourgeois, and what can be more dangerous to middle class civilisation than an attack on the nuclear family? Good Cop want to detoxify words like “pervert” and “sexual deviant” and push them back on to the heteronormative scum. As a queercore group, they take up arms for the cause of the LGBTQ+ community, and it’s doubtful that they care about the opinions of the straight white men who listen to their art and review it. That’s a shame because the abrasive guitars grind like creaking high-speed trains in closing track, ‘Minimum Rage’. You know you should like it, but you wonder if its creators would rather see you on the guillotine in a future anarchist utopia.
Release Date: 12/01/2024
Record Label: Prank Monkey Records
Standout tracks: Hunting Party, Minimum Rage
Suggested Further Listening: Death Goals – The Horrible and the Miserable (2021), Trading Hands – Clobberknocker (2022), Public Execution – Mullered (2023)