The Copyrights - Learn the Hard Way (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Copyrights

Learn the Hard Way (2008)

Red Scare

It's frustrating when your favorite bands take several years between albums. Some (no names) take three to four years between releases, only to reward fans with 30-35 minutes of what is essentially Our Last Record, Part Deux. Carbondale, IL's the Copyrights feel your pain, and are here to save the day. With three LPs and two EPs under their "buzz pop" belts since 2004, the Copyrights have consistently rewarded fans with albums full of short blasts of catchy riffs and sing-along choruses. Less than a year after their last release (2007's Make Sound), the Copyrights are back with their fourth album in as many years, Learn the Hard Way.

The album kicks off with "Second Hearse Same as the First," and doesn't let up. With what feels like nary a moment's gap between songs, the band moves seamlessly from one song to the next. The album is paced almost like a band on a mission to pack as much pop-punk goodness in as possible, as quickly as possible. "Headaches" moves right into the 1-2 punch of "All You People" and, before you know it, the introductory line of "We brought knives to a gunfight / We're in above our heads" ("Switchblades"). Just when you think you've caught your breath, you're bouncing through the final song, the aptly titled "On the Way Out."

This is by no means a dig, as the speed the record goes by (14 songs clocking in at just under 26 minutes) just means you can play it again that much quicker. You'll find yourself going back over and over, addicted to the choruses of "Shit's Fucked," "She Turns it Up" and "57 North."

Fans of their previous releases will dive into Learn the Hard Way and be immediately hooked. It picks up right where Make Sound left off, but still manages to sound fresh enough to avoid the cliché "more of the same" mentality that so many bands fall into.

That doesn't mean they don't know what they do best. The Copyrights have found their formula, and they're sticking to it, thank you very much. Nothing wrong with that, as many beloved bands (the Ramones quickly come to mind) have done much the same thing for years and consistently packed shows and sold records. If they keep delivering such catchy choruses and no-nonsese, straight-ahead pop-punk, there is no reason to think the Copyrights won't be able to do the same thing.

With Teenage Bottlerocket releasing Warning Device, and now the Copyrights' newest, 2008 is shaping up to be a good year for pop-punk fans (and Red Scare Industries). At the rate the Copyrights are going, they just might have another full-length out by the end of the year. With Learn the Hard Way surely destined for many end-of-year lists, The Copyrights have firmly established themselves as a band to stand-up and take notice of, if you haven't already. And if you have, feel free to tell the others "I told you so."