Crown Court – Ruck and Roll 7”
By: Dillon McKinnish
London’s Crown Court follow up their impressive Trouble From London demo tape with their new 7” EP, Ruck and Roll.
The U.K. has been churning out some noteworthy hardcore/punk as of late, and these four lads are proud to wear the Oi! punk crown, if you’ll pardon the unintended pun. Fans of street punk pioneers, Blitz, should get a great deal of enjoyment out of this EP, even if it isn’t as melodic and a bit more abrasive than a lot of other Oi! bands.
This is one of those bands comprised of obviously competent and skilled musicians, yet they don’t feel the need to boastfully showcase their abilities for the sake of grandeur while sacrificing songwriting. Crown Court definitely takes Oi! back to its roots; sounding like they should’ve opened for The Cockney Rejects back in 1981.
The opening track, “3 Stretch,” opens with an infectiously catchy riff that is drenched in the late-70’s punk guitar tone, before the thumping drums add a thunderous rhythm to the otherwise cheerful notes. Massive drum fills are scattered throughout the course of the song, which makes the seamless transitions back into the main riff all the more impressive in its precision. A tastefully brief guitar solo rounds out this exciting opener, but it’s the second track, “Style Identified,” where the EP really hits its stride.
Blasting right out of the gate with a drum roll followed by a rhythm section break, the caustically shimmering guitars ring out before converging together in a mass of dirty, street punk bliss. Dark, gritty melodies line the confines of this stomping track, as the vocals work in a noticeably better fashion than the other two songs. Easily the most energetic song on the EP, this shows promise for future releases by these Brits.
Concluding the EP is the song, “Away,” which begins with a hooky bass line that’s framed by pounding drums that leads into a passage that’s nearly reminiscent of U.K. art punk darlings, Wire. While not as aggressive as the two songs preceding it, “Away” serves as the best representation of Crown Court’s sound: grimy, melodic, and precise.
The EP is not without its flaws, though they are minor. The band seems to suffer a bit from their charm, in a sense. While the songs are certainly good, there isn’t much new ground being covered here. This may work for those who aren’t interested in branching out from the standard Oi! territory, but if you’re looking for weirdness or diversity in your punk rock, you may want to try your luck elsewhere. It’s also worth mentioning that the vocals are a little overshadowed by the musical performances that they’re paired with.
Whether you’re an Oi! veteran or new to the genre, Crown Court’s Ruck and Roll EP is the right fit for you. However, if you’re looking for some experimental aspects, this probably won’t strike your fancy. Although, it’s probably safe to assume that, if you’re an Oi! fan, you more than likely aren’t trying to find a band that’s reinventing the genre.
Unfortunately, the first press of the 7” is sold out, but a repress is on the way via Rebellion Records, as well as a new 7” due out later this year. For the time being, you can stream the EP on Spotify or purchase it on iTunes.