The Copyrights - North Sentinel Island (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Copyrights

North Sentinel Island (2011)

Red Scare

Carbondale, Illinois' the Copyrights belong to an elite group of modern pop-punk bands, along with Off with Their Heads and Teenage Bottlerocket, that keep making the same album again and again, yet do it so well that it ends up being a worthy purchase anyway. For the most part, that's what happens on their third Red Scare full-length (and fifth overall), North Sentinel Island, although the band do have a few new tricks up their sleeve.

Straight out of the gate, opener "Trustees of Modern Chemistry" bludgeons the listener with an almost hard rock riff, different than anything we've heard from the pop-punk stalwarts before. Meanwhile, with some whinier vocals, "Hard Wired" could have appeared on a mid-period Blink-182 album and few would have batted an eye. The acoustic guitar and keys on the outro of the bouncy "Bow Down" are also a new step for the band.

Other than those few (successful and surprisingly refreshing) experiments, though, this is classic Copyrights. If you were a fan before, North Sentinel Island isn't going to change that. "Expatriate Blues", arguably the album's strongest track, contains some of the best sing-alongs of the band's career and is just as great as past triumphs like "Planet Earth Nineteen-Ninety-Four" and "Out of Ideas". The aforementioned "Bow Down" is also a highlight, even though I have no idea what it's actually about ("When you're waiting for someone to die, because you like the way you look in a tie, bow down").

Elsewhere, the messages are much clearer. "Worn Out Passport" is a testament to living life to the fullest, in the spirit of Frank Turner's "Live Fast, Die Old", while "Expatriate Blues" is a perfect summation of moving away from home ("I'm not homesick, I'm sick of home... I hate it with a smile, I miss it with a sneer").

The Copyrights aren't looking to reinvent any wheels. They do their thing and they do it well, while throwing just enough new ideas in to keep things fresh. In the three years since their last album, Learn the Hard Way, they've come up with a great batch of pop-punk songs, and really, from the Copyrights, who would want anything else?