Love Cop // Dark Ones
Gnar Tapes/Lolipop Records
Recommended Track(s): (I Wanna Be Your) Dark One, Let’s Get High and Fuck, Mars Attackz
It is clear that anything coming from the general vicinity of the Los Angeles (formerly Portland, OR) label, Gnar Tapes, is going to be at least partially influenced by dopest thing to be tentatively legalized in Oregon, Washington (state and DC), and Colorado since skateboarding: marijuana. Where The Memories, White Fang, and pretty much anything else Rikky Gnar touches is the Sativa of the stoner-pop label/collective, Love Cop is the heavy, heavy Indica. For those of you that are not chill, or are repping “XVEGANX,” I will use another analogy that is a major non-musical influence on the Gnar Tapes lineup: David Lynch. Where Rikky Gnar’s music is the beloved, eccentric 90s classic Twin Peaks, Love Cop is the slow building, darkly humorous Mulholland Drive. Basically, Love Cop is the soundtrack to a cold rainy day on the couch watching the dark depths of Netflix, and a live act 95% less likely to take their clothes off onstage.
Metaphors aside, Dark Ones is the seventh release in three years by the Portland-based 80s goth-influenced duo (Duffy Rongiiland and Chill Phil), being jointly released by the aforementioned Gnar Tapes as well as Lolipop Records. The album starts with a truly tone setting semi-title track, “(I Wanna Be Your) Dark One,” an icy lo-fi synth and drum machine hook layered with a hauntingly slow guitar riff and Chill Phil’s deep ghostly vocals creating the meta-satirical darkness that is Love Cop.
At their best Love Cop are bizarre, funny, and legitimately immersing dank-haze pop, songs like “Let’s Get High and Fuck” and “Catching Feelings” stand out, they are completely on their own as far as the Burger/Lolipop sound goes. The rub is in their isolation there is sometimes a staleness to their sound, and poor production that is extreme even for “Lo-fi” standards (see “Star 69”). The consistency of their tempo may be a culprit of the stale points, which is why I was so excited for the second to last track, “Mars Attackz,” that echoes the nintendo-fi punk of Peach Kelli Pop in speed and sound. On its own it would not be my favorite track, but mixed in with the flow of the album it is a refreshing change of pace.
All in all Dark Ones is a solid release, on the fringes of the “stoner-pop” genre. Love Cop is a band dedicated to the DIY- All-Ages ethos, and living in Portland (a city with a Liquor Control that has a vendetta against All-Ages venues), I am thankful for bands like this.