Covert Flops - Defcon 1-2-3-4 (Cover Artwork)

Covert Flops

Defcon 1-2-3-4 (2019)

Outloud! records

This record caught me off guard. I heard about this band, Covert Flops, and decided I didn’t much like the name (I’m sometimes pretty shallow with things like this). When I saw the cover for Defcon 1-2-3-4, I assumed them to be a 3rd rate Ramonescore band. While the Ramonescore designation is pretty much right on, Covert Flops have put together a spectacularly simple pop punk record that drags you in and won’t let go. The songs are mostly great, the hooks are all over the place, the melodies will get you singing, and there are enough variances in structure, tempo, and dynamics to keep your attention throughout.

The influence of Lillingtons can be heard throughout Defcon 1-2-3-4. “Covert Commission” wears its Lillington inspiration on its sleeve with fantastic unaffected vocals, cool harmonies, and engaging structure. “The Night He Came Home” falls into the same camp, this one about Michael Myers and the Halloween films (including the line “you can’t kill the boogeyman”). It’s got a great chorus about the knife-wielding maniac returning to his home town and going on a killing spree. It’s also got some rad backing vocals. A third Lillingtons-inspired highlight comes in “Illuminati High”, a catchy Ramones shuffle with lots of “whoa-oh-oh’s”. It seems a safe bet to call it a play off of Lillington High, but it’s done so well that I’ve got no problem with it, I just want to sing along to it.

Defcon 1-2-3-4 also revels in junk-pop culture. “Riff Randell” is a love song to the biggest Ramones fan in the film Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, and a catchy mid-tempo number at that. “(I Was A) Dick For Tracy” is a fast singalong with an addicting chorus and a really cool bassline. This could be my favorite song on here if not for a campy detective music bit that interrupts after the first chorus run-through. I get the choice, but it sucks a bit of the momentum away for me. That minor aside, it’s a great song. And on “Baewatch” we find out that Covert Flops are in love with Pamela Anderson. This one has hooks for days and a singalong chorus of “Pamela, oh Pamela, won’t you please come rescue me; Pamela, oh Pamela, for you I’d trade it all” that you’ll likely sing right along with them. It’s another of my favorites.

Defcon 1-2-3-4 is not the most original music you’re going to stumble across, but the songs are mostly great. It’s fun, it’s hooky, and it’s well-executed. Maybe I shouldn’t be so petty about band names and other stupid stuff like that. This is good.