A quick look at one of the indie scene’s newest (yet oldest) members
This one has been on my radar for a little while, and it should be on yours too. Good Cop Bad Cop is a project by Arctic Monkeys’ drummer Matt Helders and Milburn vocalist Joe Carnall. Their debut self-titled album was released on digital platforms on March 29th, and if you’re a fan of either of the members’ other groups, you’ll want to check out their new album Good Cop Bad Cop.
So, who exactly are they, and how did they come to be? And the question on everyone’s mind (or at least mine!): what does this mean for Artic Monkeys?
About the band
Fans only learned of this collaboration between Helders and Carnall earlier this year, when they teased a short clip of what they were working on on social media.
Then, a month later, their debut single “Silk and Leather” was released. According to DIY Mag, this song is what spurred the whole project as Carnall, who writes the music and lyrics for the band, sent Helders an early demo of the track and Helders offered to produce it. It was the perfect opportunity and timing for each of them, and thus Good Cop Bad Cop was born.
For Helders, having been thrown into the role of drummer when Arctic Monkeys first formed, as well as studying music production in school, this new venture isn’t entirely surprising.
Helders had been hinting at starting a side project since August 2018. He revealed on The Trap Set podcast that he was putting a lot of work into developing music and finding his own style, after having been more or less stuck with playing drums when Arctic Monkeys formed. If Good Cop Bad Cop is any indication, that style is more electronically-influenced than Arctic Monkeys, or than his work with Iggy Pop.
As for Carnall, his band Milburn released their first album in ten years recently, but as he said in an interview with Exposed, it’s been quiet for the band lately so now was the perfect opportunity to direct his attention to Good Cop Bad Cop.
If you’re like me and have never heard of Milburn, they’re known for their “witty lyrics, punchy vocal delivery, and pedal to the medal guitars and drums,” according to Elizabeth Manno from XS Noise. Milburn emerged on the indie-rock scene in Sheffield, UK around the same time as Arctic Monkeys back in the 2000’s, so Carnall and Helders go way back.
In a tweet posted just before the album dropped, Carnall thanked Helders for his “generosity and support” in producing the album, which he referred to as his “baby”. It’s clear that this album is the result of two talented, driven musicians who wanted to create something they could be proud of and channel their energy and curiosity into.
About the album: ★★★☆☆
As for Good Cop Bad Cop (the album), I would give it an overall review of: “not bad”. Like I said before, if you’re a fan of Arctic Monkeys, you’ll probably dig it. You can hear some of Helders’ influences on the album, as “End of Level Boss Part 1” sounds like Queens of the Stone Age (whose frontman Josh Homme worked with Helders in Iggy Pop) and “End of the Beginning” is reminiscent of The Strokes, who influenced the sound and style of Arctic Monkeys.
Some of the lyrics on the album are questionable, like “Oh, we’re Times New Roman and they’re Comic Sans”, but in general the album has a clear style throughout and is a fun listen.
So, while the project isn’t exactly groundbreaking, it’s a great little indie album that should please fans of Helders’ and Carnall’s work, though it may just leave them pining for more Arctic Monkeys or Milburn.
But don’t take my word for it…
NME: ★★★☆☆ — Andrew Trendell of NME gave the album 3 stars out of 5, noting that their new “retro-futuristic” sound signals a “new chapter” for Helders and Carnall (Source).
Check it out for yourself…
Check out my favourite songs from each band featured in this post below, and be sure to check out the full self-titled album by Good Cop Bad Cop on Spotify.
Good Cop Bad Cop – “End of the Beginning”
Milburn – “Last Bus”
Arctic Monkeys – “Flourescent Adolescent: