There are few artists who can replicate the style of indie rock band Arctic Monkeys. The group enjoyed substantial fame during the early 2000s, especially with its album, “Favourite Worst Nightmare.” The melancholy tone and vocal melodies are unparalleled.
The collaboration between Arctic Monkeys’ drummer Matt Helder and Milburn’s vocalist Joe Carnall attempts to reach this goal. “Good Cop Bad Cop” is a mix of the usual high tempo tracks with slower, whinier ones. Released last Friday, this defeasible duo has created a generic-brand rock album.
Granted, there are a few gems that have come out of this unexpected artistic creation. The song “Silk and Leather” is reminiscent of the iconic Madness song “Our House.” This is one of the first songs on the album, giving the listener a sense of optimism for the rest of it. But just like clickbait titles on YouTube videos, what follows only serves to irritate and disappoint.
The third track, “Sharp Shooter,” sounds like it was ripped straight off of a “Daft Punk” album. This should be a praise of their technique, but it’s poisoned by the unspectacular lyrics and vocal style Carnall uses throughout the song. The same can be said for most of the album, where the music would have been amazing if there wasn’t anyone singing along. There’s a jarring clash between the electronic loops and the generic singing that makes most songs fall flat.
That being said, it’s not all bad. The music, on a technical level, is sharp and precise. The band utilizes interesting drum riffs and electronic beats. Most of these unique sounding tracks like “Landline” and “Time Crisis” send fingers snapping and the heads bobbing. “Time Crisis” is the best example of this craftful execution. Its beat makes it easy to clap to and sends the listener into a trance.
Choppy lyrics in some of the tracks feel generic and vague. In “Landline,” the lyrics talk about a relationship that’s on the brink of exploding: “Somebody call my landline / somebody call a truce / before we stand on a landline / somebody cut the noose.” The theme, revolving around a toxic relationship on the brink of tragedy, has been sung, written and acted out in plays so much in the course of human history. There’s no resolution for the man asking “someone to call a landline,” mostly due to it repeating that same verse three times, with two chorus rifts that are also the exact same. After listening, there’s no closure for anyone, the listener included. It’s an ambiguous mess.
Unfortunately, this is where most of the praise ends. All in all, the album is a basic and uninspiring listen. There’s too much synth that’s borderline ear-shattering, making the skip button a close friend. It feels like Carnall and Helder are trying too hard to imitate the style of the bigger and more successful Arctic Monkeys and the mark by a mile. There’s no overall theme connecting the songs that can be easily recognized. Even the name “Good Cop Bad Cop” makes one scratch their head. This album is a confusing, callous, cybernetic catastrophe.
“Good Cop Bad Cop” reached for the sun and was incinerated. The best use of this group of songs would be for background tunes within a larger “indie rock” Spotify playlist. If a song comes on, one can imagine someone saying, “Did you know the drummer for this song is from Arctic Monkeys?” Besides being an icebreaker, this album is unremarkable. If one is looking for good indie rock with electronic influences, don’t look here.
Contact Jonah Howells at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.