In continuing with their recent flurry of activity in the last five to six years, Millions of Dead Cops have paired up with London street punks the Restarts for this rousing 15-song split LP.
With the questionable quality of some of MDC’s more recent output (especially their acoustic split with John the Baker), Mobocracy is undoubtedly some of their finest work since fully reemerging with Magnus Domingus Corpus, an effort that flowed awkwardly at times and was uneven at best. Here, the songs are biting and terse, with more engaging music and a better vocal delivery by loquacious frontman Dave Dictor, who often tries to stuff too many words into a verse. The vituperative opener “Patriot Asshole” sets the tone for MDC’s half of the split, an animated composition replete with auxiliary vocals and menacing guitar work and the vindictive MDC spirit fans expect. Dictor follows up “Patriot Asshole” with the unexpectedly cautionary “Quentin” in reference to San Quentin State Prison. He explains in the liner notes it was written and dedicated “to those young people who somehow see doing a prison term as some sort of ‘rite of passage’” and its lyrics beg, “Is Quentin where you really want to go?” Some of the best tracks on the LP are the anti-industrial “Pollution” and “Absconding from the Gate,” a delightful song about skipping parole to go on tour with MDC. The band sends some pretty mixed messages between the reflective “Addict” and ridiculous “Maryjane for President,” the former of which ashamedly concedes "I roll another joint and forget the things I said / Erase this reality, fucked-up mentality / ... / Think about quitting another day” while the latter proclaims “I’d rather smoke a joint tonight...Marijuana!”
The Restarts have been brewing below the surface in the States for awhile, more popular with the anarcho/crust crowd despite their raw street style and members from bands like Armed and Hammered, UK Subs and the Varukers. The rough production suits their style well, though it also facilitates a level of homogeny throughout the track list, aside from two songs that do stand out from the bunch. “The Pied Piper” is a poppy sing-along dedicated to Warren “Spider” Hastings, who put on punk fests in Mormara, Ontario; it packs a pub-chant chorus that recalls, “He’s a one man punk rock party / He was louder than any band.” “Square One” is a scratchy ska tune with a flowing bassline that’s pretty good but pretty much sounds just like Citizen Fish, which is somewhat amusing since Citizen Fish had a song called “Back to Square One” on their split with Leftover Crack. The other tracks are pretty decent albeit not as memorable.
Fans of either band should know what they’re getting into with Mobocracy. MDC has compiled some of their best songs in recent years on their half, while the Restarts' aggressive street punk rarely lets up through their eight-song contribution. Complete with a foldout lyrics poster and great artwork by Kieran Plunkett of the Restarts, Mobocracy is a nice addition to both bands’ catalogues.