The quartet's second full album, at least in the hindsight of history, doesn't always seem as aggressive as it did at the time. While hardly a bunch of three-chord singalong anthems, there's something weirdly catchy about most of White Noise -- it's hardly Merzbow, for example. About the closest comparison at this point would be something like Public Enemy, with a similar blend of rhetoric, hooks, and assault, though Cop Shoot Cop can't top the Bomb Squad's hyperactive all-systems-go approach at its best. The band's unique instrumental lineup and choppy, punchy music still kick the heck out of most acts pretending to tread the edge of musical invention, though, while Tod A and Nantz spit out snarling lyrics with the attitude that anyone in their targets are about to go down hard. They escape hate-the-government clichés by tackling larger problems on the one hand -- the creepily smug guest voice detailing societal malaise on "Corporate Protopop" just nails it -- and relentless self-examination on the other. One of the best lines, from "Traitor/Martyr" is "Judas or Jesus, which one was smarter?" The more flailing edges on "Consumer Revolt" get a sharper focus on White Noise, musically and lyrically -- there's something of the brassy, big-band gone wrong feel of acts like Foetus, a clear influence, on many tracks, even without using horns. Thank Cripple Jim in part for that; his samples fill out the mix brilliantly, like the nagging tones swirling throughout on "Coldest Day of the Year" and more sounds of urban decay, collapse, and chaos throughout White Noise than might be thought possible. Add in some off-kilter sounds, like the distorted choir on "Empires Collapse," and things are even more out there. The rhythms the rest of the band generates refreshingly draw on hot jazz and swing as much as clanging rock, emphasizing the group's stand-apart attitude.
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett
feat: Hugh Foley