The Copyrights, the best punk band out of Carbondale, Illinois, are back with a new album, the follow-up to 2008′s Learn The Hard Way. Learn The Hard Way was one of babby’s first pop-punk albums, so I was really, really excited when I found out they finally had a new one. Learn The Hard Way wasn’t one of my favorites, but it was essential in shaping my listening habits, and it just holds a lot of nostalgia that I hoped North Sentinel Island would help me recapture.
To cut to the chase, it did. It sounded just like I expected it would, and that’s a blessing and a curse. North Sentinel Island hits all of the usual pop-punk bulletpoints: “My life sucks”, “I hate my town”, and “I want to leave my town because I hate it and my life sucks”. About the only thing it’s missing is an obligatory “Why can’t I get the girl” song. It’s alright, but the songs all sound vaguely similar, both in theme and in actual sound, and it all starts to run together after a bit. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, because they’re all great songs, but it’s one of the few drawbacks to an otherwise awesome album. The songwriting is tight, and the lyrics perfectly capture that feeling of wanting something more (“I’m not homesick, I’m sick of home” from Expatriate Blues comes to mind), but after a while it just becomes too much of a good thing, especially with how similar it sounds to Learn The Hard Way.
There’s a handful of really standout tracks here, like Expatriate Blues, album opener Trustees of Modern Chemistry, and Hard Wired, but they’re the exceptions, not the rule. Most of it just gets lost in a sea of power chords and discontent. Some bands can pull that off and make it a good thing, but the Copyrights aren’t one of them. I’m giving it 7 out of 10 on the D.K. Wiggin Rating System, where 10 is whatever my favorite album is and 1 is whatever yours is.
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*stream 3 songs from The Copyrights – North Sentinel Island below
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