The world is an awful state right now, with many finding exhaustion and misery within the seemingly endless barrage of torment raining down. Documenting this and how the powers that be can find opportunity within such torment, is the debut album from London based hardcore crossovers COPE.
A wild and bucking journey through political and cultural discourse, The Shock Doctrine see's COPE secure a promising future for themselves with their molotov cocktail of riffs, harmonies and hardcore orientated rage. With the record now out in the wild, guitarist and songwriter Josh Bowles sets down the meaning and inspirations behind each track on the album.
COPE - The Shock Doctrine | Album Review
Life In 3D
"This track is about 3D printed guns. There was this guy in the States who created a fully-functional 3D printed gun and then just put the blueprints online for anyone to download. I believe he was a libertarian, and whilst I somewhat agree with some libertarian ideas (legalising all drugs, for example) I just felt that making this sort of thing available to anyone for free was incredibly reckless and short-sighted. I was actually really incensed that someone would think this was a good idea, so I had to write about it!"
I’m Alright Jack
"This one is a mixture of political apathy and our own struggle to get noticed. For those that may not know, the title is a British phrase that essentially describes someone who acts with only their best interest at heart, when a minimal effort made by them could actually help others in the long run. Think about that weird paradox of Sikhs joining the BNP, or Alan Sugar – dude came from a working class background yet personifies & endorses all the worst traits of the upper echelons of society. Like most bands, it’s incredibly tough to get noticed above all the others, and we’ve found that when we’ve helped people in the past, it’s not reciprocated. Worth pointing out that the majority of people we’ve worked with have been amazing."
"Gold is actually the oldest song written on the record, and was very nearly on the last EP we put out. This is about the age of social media and consumerism in general. It’s a commentary on what society continuously tells us to covet above everything else – wealth. People have become so self-obsessed and apathetic that our lifestyle is changing. You go to a pub and people spend half the time taking pictures for social media that they barely engage with each other. It’s incredibly depressing and not something that should be normalised."
"The circumstances around this track really got to me. It’s essentially the mind of an addict, and the constant rise & fall that an addict goes through. I actually saw a TV programme about this lovely lad who had substance issues but was trying all he could to stay out of prison. Unfortunately the drugs got the better of him and he’s now back inside for the foreseeable, but what really got to me was the similarities between this guy and a good friend of mine. My friend had struggled with drugs and addiction for a number of years and tragically died a couple of years ago. I couldn’t bring myself to go to his funeral, something that I still question now. RIP Joe."
"Pretty self-explanatory I’d say! I read the phrase somewhere that ‘cynics don’t build empires’ because they don’t believe in the strength or longevity of them in the first place, because they’re a cynic. I disagreed – I think cynics are just as likely to covet wealth and power simply to watch it all burn. There’s some real nihilists in this world, so who really knows what drives them."
"This is an interlude I put together using a quote from David Wallis-Wells – it’s taken from an interview he did describing the details of his book ‘The Unhabitable Earth’ which is a huge inspiration for this album. I’d recently been listening to 1914’s stellar second album and I loved the juxtaposition between the nasty riffs and the old war time songs used throughout the record, so I wanted something similar for this interlude. Fun fact: I did this in Audacity in like half an hour."
Damned If We Don’t
"Arguably the most important song on the record, and definitely the title track in lieu of an official one. This lyrics were actually written by our tub-thumber, Solomon, with only some slight revisions made by me. It’s an incredibly powerful song IMO (a classic Ed-written track) and really hammers home the urgency & desperation of the global climate threat. The title says it all – we really are fucked if humans don’t drastically change their lifestyles and adapt to a warmer planet."
"The last track on the album takes a real swipe at social media and the rise of the influencer. We’re all either late twenties or early thirties, so the phenomena of the influencer is a relatively new one to us, and something we understand but are rather removed from. It’s definitely for the younger generation, but it’s a worrying trend. There’s always been pressure to conform, but now there’s even more pressure to look like everyone else, to read & watch what everyone else is, to behave like everyone else because our lives are constantly documented, in real time. These D-list ‘celebrities’ we pay to do the advertising are just as bad as major advertisers. In fact they’re worse, because they pretend to be just like you and me. At least you know where you stand when Branson is flogging cheap holidays to the Med."
The Shock Doctrine is out now independently. Purchase the record here.