Let’s get the obvious out of the way first, CO-OP are a band from Phoenix Arizona. The band’s vocalist is Dash Cooper, his father is Alice Cooper. He doesn’t sound anything like his father, neither do the band. I’ve been a fan of Alice Cooper for over five decades now, so trust me when I say that the connection starts and ends with the family surname. The band’s name could be a play on Cooper senior’s nickname, which junior has inherited, ‘Coop’, or maybe it’s CO-OP as in co-operative. It doesn’t really matter, the band stand on their own two feet big time.
With heavy, stoner overtones, with hints of Alice In Chains by way of Kyuss and COC, way heavier than Queens Of The Stone Age though, CO-OP crush in a way that Josh Homme hasn’t in ages. Opener ‘Desert Dreams’ grooves like a motherfucker. Cooper’s vocals are deep, gritty, and powerful, while the band just totally nail it to the wall. Drummer Mark Savale is a beast, battering his skins into submission. Six minutes in length, it never wanders off the way, like many stoner tracks do, instead reeling you in, and keeping your attention for the duration. ‘Theme For Ignorance’ mixes it up, with more of a grunge vibe, and the dreamy guitar sounds around the three minute mark are blissfully spaced out. The song reaches its climax with a bruising few moments of smoking-hot guitar riffs. ‘Overdrive’ is the shortest of the five tracks featured on the EP, and it’s the guitars from Court Stumpf and Kolby Peoples that help motor the song along at a rattling pace. The solo from Stumpf, towards the end, is worth way more than just a passing glance. Cooper changes up his vocal style on this one, but the intensity stays the same as he continues to impress. ‘Old Scratch’ sees the band back on familiar territory; four minutes plus of stoner rock, where the all important engine room of Savale on drums and Justin Swartzentruber on bass, shine throughout. Saving the best for last, the band check out with the epic ‘Sleep’, on which Cooper channels his inner Cornell. The song tips it’s hat to iconic stoner band Sleep, and for seven minutes CO-OP take you on a journey with many twists and turns. It’s a song that encourages repeat listens as the vast landscape envelops the listener. Again, the guitars are king, lengthy solos give way to thunderous Bonham-style drumming, as the band spreads its wings.
With daughter Calico currently blitzing retinas on tour with Beasto Blanco, and this quality release from his son (and co), Alice Cooper must be sitting back with a beaming smile like any proud parent should. Fans of stoner, doom, or just plain old rock n’ roll will lap this up. It’s available now from the usual digital outlets, via EMP Music.
Review: Dave Stott
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