Characters. For a world that is supposed to entertain above all else, the modern music industry is depressingly lacking in them. Into that vacuum comes Gaz Le Rock, fag smoker, radio DJ and YouTube punk rock warrior. Le Rock’s frequent outings as Retarded Cop have caught the online imagination, consummate examples of short, snappy and witty pop music, and – as their recent State gig proved – they already a punchy live act. Yet is it enough to tempt the listener to transfer their allegiance to the album format, especially when so many tunes are only a click away.
Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is pretty positive. You Have The Right To Remain Retarded! is utterly more of the same (or often what we’ve already heard before) but it stands up well as a complete album, certainly more than the sight of Gaz’s succession of homemade videos might have suggested. What sees it through is the fact that the songs are actually very strong, hooking themselves in your subconscious and refusing to budge. The lo-fi production and the inescapable conclusion that it is just the same song played thirteen times don’t seem to matter, not when the urge to jump around to the likes of ‘Tea and Fags’ hits you.
Listen to the album a few times, however, and hidden depths start to emerge. Not massively deep depths, but a second layer nonetheless. Le Rock’s lyrics aren’t exactly poetry but they do have a certain flair, exploring the smaller details of Dublin life. Admittedly “he drives a van, he is a van man” doesn’t say a lot but the tale of the fantastic ‘Get Over’ does have a certain romantic flair to it, the flip side to the cartoon imagery of the Rubberbandits. And that might just be why Retarded Cop could surprise us all. For as dumb and throwaway as this all seems, there is a sly intelligence at work here. We’ve been here before – both with RC themselves and also with others before them – but You Have The Right To Remain Retarded! could well prove to be an enduring delight. Don’t touch that dial.
Listen to the album here.