EP Review: The Copyrights / Kepi Ghoulie – Observation Wagon

  • Peter Hough posted
  • Reviews

The Copyrights / Kepi Ghoulie

Observation Wagon - Stardumb Records / Red Scare Industries

What a brilliant idea for a split single this is: a new tune from each artist and a cover of a song from the other’s back catalogue. The Copyrights and Kepi Ghoulie (Jeff Alexander) are no strangers to collaboration. Earlier this year they combined to re-record The Groovy Ghoulies‘ classic Re-Animation Festival horror surf punk album, originally released in 1997.

Straight out of Carbondale, Illinois, The Copyrights have been ploughing their unique fun-punk-pop furrow since the early noughties. Welcome Wagon represents their first new work since 2014 and hopefully marks their full return. Welcome Wagon is straight ahead punk pop 101 with a curious Dave Grohl-tinged Ramones feel. Their cover is Are You Passionate? which first saw the light of day on the 2002 Groovie Ghoulies album Go! Stories. This version adds some extra miles per hour and a driving sense of urgency missing from the Ghoulies‘ more languid, slacker take, and that fits the underlying message perfectly.

Kepi Ghoulie (assisted by Sacramento punk rock royalty Kevin and Allyson Seconds) is a different, more acoustic vibe. Observation is described as a Sci-fi thriller. It’s a catchy singalong ditty, with bonus points for a hooky bit of terrible whistling that does not detract from the hazy acoustic vibe at all. Four Eyes is a breezy acoustic take on The Copyrights‘ original from their 2003 debut album We Didn’t Come Here to Die. Not as crunchy and urgent as the original, but a fine version nonetheless. Overall, Kepi maintains that laid-back approach – the perfect foil to The Copyrights‘ straight-ahead, no frills approach.

A first class taster for both artists, this split single manages to put two distinct bands together in a way that totally works. Covering each other’s material makes perfect sense and underlines that you can’t keep a good song down. And these are four great songs. Forget genres or niches, just grab yourself this and enjoy on repeat.

Observation Wagon is out now on Stardumb Records & Red Scare Industries