Dark Side Of The Cop is a group of three fellows who grew up in southern Vermont and played in various bands before going their separate ways. Convening in Vermont and San Francisco, the three managed to put together a medium-fi album of electronic pop with a rather weird concept behind it. This self-titled first release is the first in a series of three albums meant to be played along with the movie Beverly Hills Cop the way that many people have found The Wizard Of Oz syncs up with Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon.
That said, I have to admit right now that I've never even seen the movie that this album references. While I might be missing out on some of the jokes behind the release, fortunately the album holds up pretty well on its own. After a short instrumental album opener, the disc really gets started with the warbling analogue synths and piano ambience of "Stuck In The Darkness." Just when you think the track is going to get stuck in drippyville, it takes a nice right turn into slightly funkier territory, with goofy synth bass and some nice guitar melodies while Tyler Gibbons adds his always-breathy vocals.
"Shaky Little Rules" is easily one of the album standouts, as another warbly keyboard bass line repeats throughout as blippy synths and minimal beat programming (including some punctual handclaps) provides a skeletal backbone for some strummy guitars and playful vocals from Gibbon. From there out, the album largely lays off, and it suffers a bit from it. Other than the shorter, surf-guitar and organ riffs of "California," the album is chocked full of slow to mid-tempo ballads like "Don't Be Jealous" and "Fool In The Hills."
With twelve tracks clocking in at under forty minutes in length, Dark Side Of The Cop is a lean album that shows off a couple great moments, but loses it in other places (the spoken-word "Like A Realist Painter (Interlude)" is a perfect example). There are definitely enough hints of goodness to keep me interested, so here’s hoping the group unfurls their wings a bit with their next effort.