I like most of my music to have a pop bent. Yes, I like it rough around the edges and only mildly repetitive, which often rules out some of the biggest names that fall under ye olde “pop-punk” flag. Ramonescore, for the most part, just doesn’t motivate me like the actual Ramones did.
But every now and again, a truly poppy band has that something, that it that gets me moving. Here’s where I file The Copyrights. They play pop songs under a punk umbrella, whatever that sentence is supposed to actually say. The structures are verse-chorus-verse, the vocals are clean, the power chords reign, and the song title appears in the lyrics. All that said, the Copyrights isn’t some Ramones clone. They take those repetitions and run them through a gritty Midwestern filter—there’s as much down on your luck, self-deprecating Dear Landlord in here as there is boppy Ramones fun. The lyrics are playful, but they’re also devoid of bubblegum, well exemplified by the song “No Knocks” with its refrain of “I graduated from the school of no knocks.” It’s a play on familiar words, but with a stronger meaning behind it. You can laugh at the silliness if that’s your bag, but you can also feel them thriving despite adversity. The overall tone is, to put it bluntly: life is hard; overcome; have fun. “Wishbone” (lyrics: “I got a wishbone, not a backbone”) is another strong example. That sense of content separates them from others, such as Teenage Bottlerocket, whose songs are pretty much all fun.
The choruses are big and positive, with a driving snare that emphasizes the beat, while the lyrics themselves are pointed inward. But moving past the lyrics, the songs thrive over the course of a full album, which is where Ramones-core tends to falter. The songs each sound different with Adam Fletcher’s voice serving as the unifying factor across the 14 cuts included on Report. The Copyrights are a band I’ve seen live a few times but really only heard in small doses recorded. On record, that energy transfers well into a 14 song/26 minutes blast of positive-sounding pop-punk, even if the lyric sheet doesn’t sound as cheerful. With Report The Copyrights don’t reinvent anything, but it’s enjoyable and catchy in all the right places.
Posted Sept. 15, 2019, 4:55 p.m.
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The Copyrights will release No Knocks on 7" on July 22 via Fat Wreck Chords. The band is also set for a new full-length, Report, set for an Aug. 26 ...
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