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The Only CV Newsletter

Articles and Reviews

April 17, 2003
Cobra Verde
Easy Listening

Of related interest: Urge Overkill, Big Star, Alice Cooper

When Bob Pollard had a falling out with Tobin Sprout in 1996, he not only severed ties with his songwriting partner, he fired the entire band. Cobra Verde, which formed from the ashes of post-Pere Ubu doom-rockers Death Of Samantha, was brought in to back Pollard on Mag Earwhig! the following year. His pop sensibilities fused nicely with the Cleveland garage rockers. Early Verde also synthesized the rawest elements of blues, a fairly radical notion in 1994 when the band’s debut, Viva La Muerte, came out. However, the group evolved in a less abrasive direction by incorporating influences that were just as old, but decidedly more pop and glam influenced. Easy Listening is the most assertive step yet in that direction. Grimy blues riffs are replaced with flamboyant glam flourishes (the lighter-thrusting “Throw It Away” is Bowie if he was inspired by the New York Dolls), and even though Wayne Kramer adds some guitar (and released the disc on his own label), the MC5’s Detroit cohort Alice Cooper seems like the songcraft’s most direct influence (“Modified Frankenstein”). Much like Urge Overkill before they started believing their own hype, Easy Listening brims with trashy retro-glitter. Yet Cobra Verde manages to sound contemporary without succumbing to retro trends, just maybe because of that fact. -- Brian O'Neill

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