The Pop Side of Punk

The Pop Side of Punk

Adriana SaboTuesday,29 July 2014

The Snap:

Some twelve years ago, somewhere in Illinois, a band was formed under the name of The Copyrights. The members are Adam Fletcher (bass/vocals), Luke McNeall (drums), Brett Hunter (guitar/vocals) and Jeff Funburg (guitar/vocals), and they play something that is described as pop punk. This label, no matter how strange it might sound, seems to imply that the raw sound of punk was embellished a bit by catchy melodies, making it “easy” on the ear. The Copyrights are not men of many words and they don’t talk much about themselves. Their Facebook page states simply “We play punk rock music,” and nothing else, which might mean that they, as the good old phrase goes, prefer to have their music speak instead of them. Also, they might just be lazy when it comes to updating their biography. Anyhow, they have been quite busy since they got together (so they are not always lazy), releasing a number of albums, EP’s and compilations. The latest EP, titled  “No Knocks,” was released only recently, so let’s have a look.

The Download:

“No Knocks” brings a collection of fun, bouncy songs with strong beats and punk-like guitars. Whenever a band is labeled with the word “punk”, my mind instantly leaps to the seventies, and those bands that were politically engaged, provocative and generally outraged at the injustices of the world. We seem to have lost that rage, labeling anything with harsher-sounding music as punk, omitting the social background of the movement that gave birth to this particular sound. This is probably why we don’t have any problem putting together words like “punk” and “pop” next to eachother. To be fair, the lyrics that The Copyrights write seem to lean towards some kind of provocation, but after all we’ve been through, it seems to take a lot to shock us. So words like “I was born with a sliver spoon/Never knew the taste of stainless steel” that we hear in the title track aren’t exactly bold, or sharp – we have all heard songs about privileged kids before. And when you combine them with a tune that you can actually sing — and not scream — it kind of looses its edge. So my point here would be that choosing to play punk is extremely dangerous – it was the genre of a specific generation and it is really hard to revitalize it without using clichés.

On the other hand, if you enjoy feeling rebellious, while listening to melodies that draw really close to cheesy – these guys are perfect for you. What they do, they do fantastically.  The title track of “No Knocks” sets the mood for this loud pop they play. “Keep the Change” picks up the tempo, introducing harsher and more aggressive sounds. This keeps up, as there seems to be a crescendo to the end of the EP – every song is a bit more energetic. They sing about things most of us can relate to, like injustice or anger, which is why their punk music is more stereotypical than original. Finally, as we get to the third and final song on the EP — “Don’t Want In” — the urge to headbang can’t be controlled anymore: riffs are strong, loud and aggressive, melodies imaginative and easy to remember.  The Copyrights are, if I may say so, the perfect example of how punk works these days: the only way to sell it is to put it in pop garments. Because, let’s face it, punk – the first punk – did disappear because it couldn’t be made into a commercial product. So did pop punks do what Malcolm McLaeren couldn’t? Catch The Copyrights on tour and judge for yourselves!

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