Cop Shoot Cop – Suck City

4 out of 5

Label: Interscope

Produced by: Martin Bisi

Your mileage here is going to vary based on your take of Cop Shoot Cop’s in-yer-face industrial grunge. The group was always pretty on the nose (and I generally just nod at their name as proof of that), but their initial albums benefitted from a purposeful slop of production, as well as an excess of noise. CSC were never unobvious, but the clatter they made was legit. 

Swept up by 90s Nirvana / NiN fever, the band was signed to Interscope, and while they by no means “cleaned up” their sound, lead Tod A. was already on his way of turning his sneer into a smirk, and the group’s abrasiveness into something with hooks. On the other side of this, they’d hook up with Dave Sardy for Release, an incredibly catchy disc with a fantastically heavy low-end sound. But preceding that, and their Interscope debut album, there was this taste test: EP Suck City. 

The title track, and closer, is key: over-the-top as always, but it’s a pretty brazen and crass “yes, we’ll take your money” snipe at selling out, and you can imagine CSC laughing as they play it for the suited execs they’re mocking. Prior to this, opener Nowhere is of the new breed, as it would appear on the upcoming album, Ask Questions Later: it’s easy to digest, with pretty predictable no-one-gets-it lyrics, and slots in well enough with fuzzier acts like Dinosaur Jr, with a splash of industrial percussion. The middle tracks are thus the highlights: Days Will Pass looks forward to Tod balancing his depression with reflection, paralleled also in the way the music wanders towards a driving conclusion; We Shall Be Changed switches back to noise, centering wholly around an Exorcist 3 sample that the kids just love using on their angry records, but it is effective. 

So while things were a’changing, Cop Shoot Cop used Suck City to kind of prove that such changes will happen on their own terms, and in doing so, offer a very solid sampler of sounds old and new.