Belfast indie outfit Hot Cops make a welcome and triumphant return with their new single ‘Negative One’. Rattling and buzzing right out of the gate, ‘Negative One’ is a welcome and exciting addition to Hot Cops’ canon of offbeat, ‘melancholy-meets-indifference’ indie rock, established by 2018’s “Speed Dating” compilation/EP.
‘Negative One’ is propelled by restless, shifting rhythms from drummer Conor Ellison and the grinding, gliding basslines of Nathan Rodgers – the quintessential backdrop for any good alt-rock band.
A steam-whistle like lead guitar riff makes for a noisy start; its overwhelming grip on the listener pushing them further into the David Lynch-esque scenes painted by the lyrics – brooding and totally alien, frontman Carl Eccles’ non-sequiturs find a strange sense of purpose and context as they fall neatly in-between the raucous components of the instrumental. Touching on just about everything from the mundane to the surreal, but delivered with all the calculated and theatrical interest of the slacker rock bands of the 90s, Hot Cops make a show of melding their influences and musical talents together.
Taking cues from the likes of Pavement and Slint, the song’s charm lies in its finale, where the melody falls apart through (ever so slightly) dissonant guitars, sporadic bass grumbles and tension-building drums, only to give way to ghostly vocalising from Eccles before an impassioned final chorus tears through the taut atmosphere.
Having been a staple of the band’s live set for a while, ‘Negative One’ is a polished, but still ragged, document of one of Hot Cops’ best and noisiest songs.