Bad Cop/Bad Cop – ‘The Ride’

By Tom Walsh

Bad Cop/Bad Cop are fighting the good fight. They are stoking the revolution, calling out injustices, and preaching the importance of self-love. The Los Angeles-quartet’s third full-length record, ‘The Ride’, is highly prophetic and arrives at precisely the right time to capture the mood of this deeply troubling period.

The band’s ethos has always been one of empowerment, highlighting the importance of community and solidarity with the marginalised. While ‘The Ride’ has a much more positive feeling than their rage-filled sophomore record ‘Warriors’ – released in the aftermath of the 2016 US presidential election – there is still a lot of anger piercing through this album.

Some of the most visceral tracks are penned by bassist Linh Le, with both the thrashing ‘Certain Kind of Monster’ and ‘Pursuit of Liberty’ taking on the demonisation of immigrants in the US. The former is an unsubtle swipe at the militarised ICE agents ripping families apart, in which Le poignantly states “you don’t have to sink so low just to do what you’re told”. 

The latter is a brutally personal tale of her parents emigrating from Vietnam to the US in the 1970s and now feeling unwelcome in the nation they love. Le questions whether she could be witnessing the beginning of a “Fourth Reich”, stating: “by raising the fences we’re lowering the bar / it seems like we’re traveling back to Manzanar”, referencing the concentration camps set up by the US to house Japanese Americans during World War II.

Anger and exasperation is juxtaposed with hope and positivity in other tracks. Another deeply personal tale comes in the form of ‘Breastless’, where guitarist Stacey Dee frankly discusses the life-altering effects that came with overcoming breast cancer. While dealing in a very serious topic, Dee’s words provide encouragement and defiance.

That is the overarching feeling throughout ‘The Ride’ – one of encouragement, and the strength we possess when we band together. Whether it’s in the place you live (‘Community’), in resistance to a greater evil (‘Originators’), in believing in yourself (‘The Mirage’), or simply a celebration of being comfortable to accept who you are as a person (‘Simple Girl’).  

The anthemic closing track ‘Sing With Me’ puts a nice full stop on ‘The Ride’, in which gang vocals provide that sense of belonging. The anger and rage may have subsided somewhat in Bad Cop/Bad Cop’s latest record, but it has made way for something much more important – a sense of optimism and a persistent hope that we’ll come through the other side, if we keep fighting the good fight.

TOM WALSH

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