You Could Be A Cop originally consisted of a pair of Norwegian brothers, drummer Morten and bassist/guitarist Marius. The line-up was completed by the addition of British singer, Natalie.
According to the band themselves they’re influenced by the raw emotion of 1990’s emo, citing influences from Low to The Appleseed Cast. The resultant sound is dense and emotive, with all the charming little imperfections left in. Rattling drums, guitars that shift from rapid chords to slow burning riffing, and throughout Natalie’s unguarded, youthful vocal style.
While Natalie is based out of London, the majority of the band hail from Norway’s third-largest city, Trondheim. Home to around 170,000 people, Trondheim was originally conceived as a market town, although is now probably best known for its numerous technological and educational institutions, being the home of the Norwegian University of Science & Technology. Like most cities with a large student population, Trondheim has a vibrant musical scene, its jazz and classical scenes are particularly renowned and it has also produced numerous more pop-orientated acts. Perhaps most intriguing sounding is the anarchist-punk scene based out of UFFA, a youth house which has been putting on regular gigs since its formation in 1981.
Although demos can be traced back to around 2014, it was with the July 2017 release of their self-titled debut EP that You Could Be A Cop truly arrived. The release rather remarkably being a collaboration between ten different labels from five different countries, and no we don’t have a clue how that works.
You Could Be A Cop themselves may make reference to the influence of the 1990’s, but in reality this is a style that has existed in the underground clubs and toilet venues for every generation since the days of post-punk. You Could Be A Cop seem to fall into a lineage from The Cocteau Twins and Life Without Buildings in the 1980’s, through to Slowdive and Yo La Tengo in the 1990’s, and Let’s Buy Happiness and Life Model this century. Bands who seemed to pour their heart onto the tape, foregoing technical ability or polished production in favour of creating something with a far greater emotional impact.
On their debut EP, You Could Be A Cop offered four-tracks of raw angst; from the slow-burning beauty of The Things We Could Be to the rapid jangle of Sequin Lights. The lyrics dissect faded relationships, using repeated imagery of gazing at ceilings, listening to, “the good songs”, and watching the ever repeating pattern of day and night. Half dreamt snap shots of the past and present collide, the loneliness and freedom of the now, still held down by thoughts of what was, and what could have been.
The album perhaps reaches its finest moment at its close, in the shape of ambitious closing track, The Roof Of Your Room. Natalie’s double-tracked vocals create a gorgeous echoing quality, as rapid fire drums and chugging bass play out behind textured, slow-core guitar lines. As always, the lyrics are drenched in nostalgia for the recent past, as Natalie sings, “whoever of us had the most to hold, we hoped that the sky would hold the rain until we could hear it beat down on the roof of your room.” Poignant and powerful, You Could Be A Cop exist in that perfect musical sweet-spot, free to be creative entirely on their own terms, without a second thought for anything but making exactly the music they want to make, it’s a very exciting place to be.
This unpolished nature, the divisive vocal style, the emotional honesty: it would be fair to say it won’t be for everyone, but those who do like it on an initial glance will discover an awful lot to love on repeat listens.
You Could Be A Cop is out now via Lilla Himmel (Norway), Adagio830 (Germany), Beth Shalom records (UK), strictly no capital letters (UK), Friend of Mine records (Japan), Middle-man records (US), Time as a color (Germany), Siste Sukk Tapes & Records (Norway), Worried Songs (UK) and How is Annie records (Norway). Click HERE for more information on You Could Be A Cop.